January 19, 2012
Performing Arts presents Baby, the musical, February 23-26

"Look around it's in the air / Life is changing everywhere" - especially when you find out you're having a baby. And the three main couples in the upcoming Lees-McRae Performing Arts production of Baby feel that change as they deal with the joys and trials of having a baby.

Baby will be presented Feb. 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium on the LMC campus in Banner Elk. The production is directed by Dr. Michael Hannah and features 14 cast members from the college's performing arts program.

Baby explores the effects an impending birth can have on three couples on a college campus. Danny and Lizzie are college juniors who have only just moved in together and find that soon there will be three in their tiny basement apartment. Nick and Pam are both thirty-something coaches who desperately want a child but have major problems conceiving. Alan and Arlene have just sent the last of their three daughters off to college and look forward to being just a couple again - but that won't last for long.

"I've done this musical twice before, and each time I look at it, I realize how wonderfully moving these stories are," said Hannah, an associate professor of Performing Arts and coordinator of the BFA in Musical Theatre Program at LMC. "The first production I did was with the former Blowing Rock Stage Company nearly 25 years ago, and the second was here at LMC in 1997."

Baby features a book by Sybille Pearson, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr., and music by David Shire. When it premiered in 1983, the New York Times wrote: "Shire writes with sophistication over a range that embraces rock, jazz and the best of Broadway schmaltz. … Maltby's lyrics are not just smart and funny, but often ingenious." The New York Post added: "Pearson's book is agreeably smart … it has style and energy, a rare combination."

The LMC cast features Randi Sowards as Lizzie, Ethan Henry as Danny, Osmary Nieves as Pam, Richard Gebo as Nick, Makenzie Simpson as Arlene and Jarrett Koski as Alan. Appearing the ensemble are Sarah Rutzen, Chloe Boggs, Emma Sheffer, Kaitlyn Buchanan, Stephen Redmon, Miky Prather, Ryan Tucker and Kevin Thorn. Jim Taylor, director of voice at LMC, serves as music director, Danielle Curtis is scenic and lighting designer, and costume design duties are shared by Dr. Tessa Carr and Mindi Bishop.

"The beauty of the show is its simplicity," Hannah said. "The stories involve real people having to face some all-too-real challenges and to make some serious changes in their lives as a result. The songs are both serious and humorous and cover a range of musical styles that will appeal to anyone.

"As a matter of fact, anyone who's had a baby - or even been one - should enjoy this musical," said Hannah.

Tickets for Baby are $12 for adults and $5 for children/students and are general admission. They will be available at the door one hour before each performance. For more information, call (828) 898-8721.

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