Purdue News

January 24, 2006

'College Widow' to open Purdue's new Hansen Theatre

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University unveils the new Nancy T. Hansen Theatre with a production of "The College Widow" by George Ade Feb. 17-26.

"The College Widow," rehearsal
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George Ade, a Purdue alumnus, former trustee and half the inspiration for the naming of Ross-Ade Stadium, wrote "The College Widow" in 1904. "The College Widow," inspired by Ade's Purdue experiences, also was an early production for another Purdue landmark in 1941 — Elliott Hall of Music.

Professor Emeritus Dale Miller will return to direct the show. Miller is the former chair of the theater division and has directed or acted in more than 400 productions during his career.

"The play is loosely based on the football rivalry between DePauw University and Wabash College," Miller said. "For our production, we've reset the time era to 1924, giving the costumes a splashier, Roaring '20s feel. We’ve also added a few references to Purdue in the script and images from the campus will show up in several layers of the scenery."

The barnstorming stage comedy tells the tale of Jane (the daughter of the college president) and what happens when she talks a star player from a rival team into becoming her university football team's halfback. "The College Widow" played on Broadway for nearly 300 performances and at one time boasted baseball great Ty Cobb as the leading man. The play also inspired two film adaptations and the Jerome Kern musical "Leave it to Jane."

Purdue Theatre’s production of "The College Widow" features a widespread collaboration of talent. Co-creator of the Bug Bowl and entomology professor Tom Turpin will play the college president. Local veteran actor Arliss Jeffries, theater professor Richard Sullivan Lee and a few members of the Purdue rugby team also are members of the cast. Purdue's jazz and marching bands, under the direction of M.T. "Mo" Trout and William Kisinger, respectively, have recorded music for the show.

The new Hansen Theatre seats 300 people and features state-of-the-art technology. It is housed in the $43.4 million Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, which is home to the four divisions that make up visual and performing arts: art and design, music, dance and theater. It replaces the Experimental Theatre in Stewart Center and nearly doubles its seating capacity.

Former Purdue President Arthur G. Hansen of Zionsville, Ind., in September 2002 announced an outright and deferred gift of $1.8 million to name the theater in his wife's honor. Arthur married Nancy Tucker in 1972 during his tenure as Purdue's eighth president (1971-82). Nancy Tucker Hansen died in 2003.

The other new theater in Pao Hall is the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre, which replaces the smaller Black Box Theater that was located in Creative Arts Building 3.

The first workshop production of "A Story About a Girl," written by Jaquelyn Reingold, will inaugurate the Mallett Theatre March 31 to April 9. Telling the story of Jessica, a girl who can't speak, this play within a play will show how she is still able to find love and her voice as well as overcome loss.

The final production of the season will be "The Winter's Tale" by William Shakespeare April 13-22 in the Hansen Theatre. A timeless play, "The Winter's Tale" combines tragedy and comedy seamlessly with love and forgiveness triumphing in the end.

Single tickets to productions on the main stage, including "The College Widow" and "The Winter's Tale," are $16 for the general public, $9 for students and $12 for seniors over 62. Tickets to "A Story About A Girl" are $7.50 for the general public and seniors and $6 for students. For tickets, call Loeb Box Office at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW.

The original manuscript of "The College Widow" goes on display Feb. 2 part of the George Ade Special Collection to be exhibited in Stewart Center, Room 279, through March 15. The collection includes a large array of the Purdue benefactor's personal papers, including photographs and correspondence with some of the most prominent celebrities of the day such as Mark Twain, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields and President William Taft. Two display cases in the Hansen Theatre lobby in Pao Hall also will feature some items of the George Ade Special Collection.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089, christyjones@purdue.edu

Sources: Peggy Felix, (765) 494-3084, felix@purdue.edu

Dale Miller, (765) 463-9420, dmiller9@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Related Web site:
Theatre Department

Mrs. Dalzelle (Amanda Folena) shares exciting news with Jane (Stacie Hadgikosti), Bessie (Caley Milliken), Josephine (Ashley Risk) and Bertha (Jes Mercer) during a rehearsal for "The College Widow," the inaugural performance in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre at Purdue University. The performance is the first in the $43.4 million Yue-Kong Hall of Visual and Performing Arts and runs Feb. 17-26. (Photo courtesy of Leslie Abeyta)

A publication-quality photo is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2006/theatre-widow.jpg


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