Acclaimed theater director and teacher Bryce Britton has been named director of the new Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre in the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. Britton joined the School of Theatre and Dance faculty this fall.
With a “triple threat” approach that involves equal emphasis on training in acting, music and dance, the new major shares a joint curriculum and resources drawn from both the School of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music. The administration of the program is through the School of Theatre and Dance.
“Our BFA in Musical Theatre program’s primary focus is to create professional collaborative performers who not only have the ability to shine on any stage, but the knowledge to get in the stage door in this highly competitive entertainment industry,” Britton said.
Britton received his Master of Fine Arts degree in theater direction from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing from the University of Puget Sound. He is an active member of Actor’s Equity Association and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He has worked in the best regional theaters in the country.
Britton’s extensive professional credits include Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT, Village Theatre, Lyric Theatre and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. With a passion for Original Theatre, he has worked on numerous new works with the Village Originals Festival and the Seaberry Quinn Playwriting Festival. He is a recipient of the 2009 Milo Cline Award in Athens, Ohio, based on service and support to the community and given by a summer theater program Britton managed there.
Some of his favorite directorial credits include Dana Lynn Formby’s “The Small of Her Back,” “Wonder of the World,” “West Side Story,” “Pippin,” “Into the Woods” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” Britton recently directed Monty Python’s hilarious musical “Spamalot” and Sara Ruhl’s haunting retelling of the Orpheus tale, “Eurydice,” in the Seattle area.
He is gearing up for his first show at WVU, the American opera “Street Scene,” with music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Langston Hughes and book by Elmer Rice. The show will be presented at the Creative Arts Center, Oct. 23-26.
An American opera written in 1946, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Elmer Rice, “Street Scene” takes place in a tenement building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the 1940s where the residents are coping with the summer heat and filling their days with gossip and plenty of squabbles. Amidst the hubbub of this community, Anna Maurrant is a discontented housewife, while her daughter Rose is finding romance with the boy next door. As tensions build between neighbors and families alike, this beautiful tragedy showcases how little we can truly know about people behind closed doors—until it is too late. Featuring poetry and music, blended with start realism, “Street Scene” creates a portrait of a not-too-distant American past.
Kurt Weill received the first Tony Award for Best Original Score for this work after its Broadway premiere in 1947, and the score is considered his masterpiece. It contains operatic arias, as well as Broadway-style numbers, and jazz and blues influences. There is also an extended song-and-dance sequence.
Songs include “Somehow I Never Could Believe,” “Let Things Be Like They Always Was,” “I Got a Marble and a Star” and “Lonely House.” Some of the Broadway-style numbers include “Wrapped in a Ribbon and Tied in a Bow,” “Wouldn’t You Like To Be On Broadway?” and “Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed.”
For more information on “Street Scene” please visit theatre.wvu.edu, call 304-293-2020, or email email@example.com.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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