The College of the Canyons theatre department will present a workshop production of the award-winning, young adult science fiction novel, “The Giver,” July 8 and 9, as part of this summer’s Festival of New American Musicals.
The musical is being staged as part of the college’s Theatre 193: Summer Theatre Workshop course, and will feature a cast of 16 students, professional actors and community members, in what will be the musical’s West Coast premiere.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
“This production offers Santa Clarita artists and audiences a rare opportunity to witness the birth of a new musical in workshop format, with only limited sets and minimal costumes,” said Paul Wickline, COC theatre department chair. “Such performances emphasize the substance and artistry of the work, rather than the glitz and glam so common of most musicals today. We are pleased to share this exciting new work with audiences.”
Released in 1993, the novel “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life, in a futuristic, assumedly utopian, society, which has eliminated all feelings of pain and strife by converting the masses to what is called the “Sameness” plan.
With this societal setup gradually appearing more and more dystopian, Jonas suddenly finds himself in the position of “Receiver of Memory,” the person in charge of storing all of society’s memories from the time before “Sameness” was implemented. But as Jonas takes the reigns of his new job, with training from a mysterious man called the Giver, he discovers the power these memories posses.
He soon faces a dilemma — should he embrace his new role within this society, and live a life without love, color and choices; or should he seek out a more fulfilling, and meaningful life.
The production features an original score by Scott Murphy and lyrics and dialogue by Nathan Christensen, with direction from COC theatre professor Andrea Slominski and music direction by Mary Ekler. “The Giver” is being co-produced by the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons in partnership with the Festival of New American Musicals.
Running throughout the spring and summer months, the Festival of New American Musicals celebrates the return of the American musical by showcasing full productions, staged readings, concerts, master classes and other performance-based events in conjunction with performance arts organizations in cities across Southern California.
“With a score as complex as it is beautiful, this production has been one of the most challenging summer workshops yet,” said Slominski. “Our students worked closely with Scott and Nathan throughout the entire process, which was essential in order for them to learn such a difficult score in such a short amount of time.”
“If you’re a fan of contemporary musical theatre,” added Slominski, “you won’t want to miss this show.”
“The Giver” will open at 8 p.m. Friday, July 8, in the PAC Black Box Theatre. A matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9.
As part of the Festival of New American Musicals, admission to “The Giver” is $15 for all attendees. However, there will be no advance ticket sales for this production.
Tickets can be purchased at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. the evening of July 8, and 12:30 p.m. the afternoon of July 9. Only cash and checks will be accepted. Debit/credit card payments cannot be accepted.
For more information about the College of the Canyons theatre department’s production of “The Giver” please call Paul Wickline at (661) 362-3152.