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Love, Politics Satirized in Theatre UCF's Gershwin Musical

photoTheatre UCF presents a hilarious and timeless all-American classic, Of Thee I Sing, in the theatre’s Main Stage starting Thursday, Oct. 12. The musical by George and Ira Gershwin is a story of an American presidential candidate who promises to marry the partner chosen for him at a beauty pageant but ends up falling for a different woman instead, sending him into political hot water.

Mark Brotherton, associate professor of theatre and director of the production, is presenting this production as originally intended when it was written in 1931. It was the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize.

“We are not updating anything,” Brotherton said. “I am not trying to connect it to present day because the nation is too polarized. Everything old is new again and that speaks for itself.”

Brotherton is focused on sharing the style and humor of the 1930s to today’s audiences.

“It’s fast paced. We never let the audience get ahead,” Brotherton said. “The audience must check their brain at the door. Yes, this is as stupid as you can imagine but you must believe it. Yes, love can happen in a second. Yes, French guards of the ambassador do all the sudden break out into dance. It was in the style of the day.”

Sarah Schreck, a senior theatre student and dramaturg of Of The Thee I Sing, gives some background on the time that this musical takes place.

“Of Thee I Sing takes place during the Great Depression and in the middle of the dry desert known as prohibition,” Schreck said. “1930 was a lovely year unless you were a farmer, a citizen with money in the bank and pretty much anyone else.”

Schreck said the play is a satire not a parody. “The two main goals of a satire are that they take themselves seriously and they make a moral judgment,” she said. “John and Mary really do fall in love. To them it is serious, but to us it is funny.”

The show will be performed on the Theatre UCF Main Stage. On opening night, audience members are invited to join the cast and creative team for a post-show reception.

Tickets are available for $20 for the general public and $10 for those with a valid UCF ID. They can be purchased online at http://theatre.cah.ucf.edu/tickets.php or at the box office.

For more information about Theatre UCF and the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit http://performingarts.cah.ucf.edu.

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