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Hastings College Summerstage auditions scheduled for 'Diamond Studs—The Life of Jesse James (A Saloon Musical)'

The Hastings College Theatre Arts Department is pleased to announce its summer production “Diamond Studs—The Life of Jesse James (A Saloon Musical).” College auditions for the production will take place on March 13, 2014, at 6 p.m. in the Scott Studio Theatre (806 N. Turner Ave.) Community auditions will take place the following Saturday, March 15, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Scott Studio Theatre.

The performances are scheduled for June 13, 14, 20 and 21, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. and on June 15 and 22, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. – all in Scott Studio Theatre. Ticket information will be released at a later date.

“It’s a vaudeville review of the life of Jesse James, made up of about 90 percent lies and 10 percent truths. It’s a goofy, bluegrass country musical,” said Jim Fritzler, Director and Chair of the Hastings College Theatre Arts Department. “We picked it one, for the topic of him because he’s a little bit Western, and then we’ve got a lot of bluegrass-interested musicians in the area.  It’s very funny, and then very sweet and moving.”

This is only the second year that Hastings College has had the Summerstage program. It is designed to allow local students the opportunity to participate in additional theater experiences without having the expense of travel and enrollment. Several students may also receive paid positions creating set pieces, working backstage and acting.

“Most colleges have some kind of a summer program, and here in central Nebraska, we realized that a lot of our students didn’t have the money to be in a summer stock somewhere, or the time,” Fritzler said. “We started this summer program to help give them the semi-professional setting, like a summer stock, for our students to do here instead of having to travel somewhere.”

Fritzler also began the program last summer in an effort to involve the Hastings community during the summer months in a way that is difficult to arrange during the school year. Members of the community are invited to audition and take part in the production alongside current and recently-graduated college students.

“Last year was a total experiment; we had never done it [before],” Fritzler said. “It was really successful for a first outing, but we’ve learned a lot about what not to do and what to do differently.  The college has been really supportive of the idea, so that helps.”

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