‘Around the World in 80 Days’ lands in Boone
While the many arts programs at Appalachian State University
encourage and bring to life many student-run and student-performed programs, occasionally the
university will bring a nationally touring production to Boone.
That is the case with the upcoming stage presentation of the Jules Verne classic, “Around the World in 80 Days.”
This version of “Around the World in 80 Days” will be presented by the Walnut Street Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Valborg Theatre on the ASU campus. Tickets are $8 for students and children and $15 for the general public.
Based in Philadelphia, Pa., Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest in America, with a history that goes back to 1809. Future stars who have performed on the centuries-old stage over the years include The Marx Brothers, Will Rogers, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Ethel Waters, Jack Lemmon, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, William Shatner and many more.
Walnut Street Theatre’s stage version of “Around the World in 80 Days” is an adaptation by Mark Brown of Jules Verne’s classic 1870s novel. The story is an adventure centering on the character of Phileas Fogg, a rich gentleman of unknown means who accepts a bet that says he can’t travel around the world using the technology of the time.
Subplots and hijinks ensue as the tale unravels and Fogg travels around the planet with his time-keeping assistant.
The actors that will bring this story to life include Bill Van Horn, Sarah Gliko, Anthony Lawton, John Zak and Damon Bonetti.
“We haven’t brought in an outside play production in a couple of years, so we definitely wanted to add (Walnut Street Theatre) to our Performing Arts Series,” said Megan Stage, marketing and public relations manager of ASU Arts and Cultural Programs. “They are a very reputable theater production company, so we grabbed them as soon as we saw that they were on tour. Our mission is to bring to the campus and the community different performances of music, dance and theater to complement what the students are learning in the classrooms.”
Because of the current renovation under way at Farthing Auditorium, the Performing Arts Series has had to improvise.
“We had to look into using other venues on campus where we could host performances,” Stage said. “That led us to look to our campus partners this year, to add some of their performances to our series, which is why there is a little bit more collaboration with the theater and dance department and the Hayes School of Music. This is a model that we want to continue, because it has worked so well.”
One reason that national touring companies are brought to the ASU campus is so the students can witness and learn from the work of artists who are further along in their careers.
“What we try to do with every performance that comes in is, with every act we bring in and every event that we have, we try to get the artists to interact somehow with our students and the community,” Stage said. “Sometimes, they will do master classes. Sometimes, they will do special performances on campus. That way, students can meet the artists and pick their brains and talk to them about their careers and ask them if they have any advice.
“The Walnut Street Theater will be doing a question-and-answer session after the show, where audience members will be able to talk with the actors. So, with the Performing Arts Series, we try to create curricular connections and make the art real for the students and the community members, as well.”
For more information on Walnut Street Theatre’s upcoming production of “Around the World in 80 Days,” visit http://pas.appstate.edu/schedule/id/around-the-world.