Family, home and meta-theatre

MICHIGAN CITY — It's not only a story of life and love, but one of family.

"Our Town," the latest production of the Marquette Drama Department, takes on special significance for longtime director Amy Crane as her cast and crew ready for their rendition of the Thornton Wilder classic.

"Every production is different, but this one has a personal history. It was my first show at Marquette. It was the first show my husband (Andy) and I produced together, and now it's my son's (Wil) first show as a Marquette student," Crane said.

"Our Town" is a Pulitzer Prize winning 1938 meta-theatrical three-act play by Thornton Wilder about a fictional small town in early 1900s America. It involves direct interactions with the audience by cast members and a setting that includes the stage where the actors are performing.

Crane has helped cultivate scores of Marquette theatre and musical careers in her 20 years on 10th Street. Our Town represents her 44th production since 1998. She's cognizant of the blessings this role has provided her.

"For every student life I've touched, they have inspired mine," she remarked.

Opening Night is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. Subsequent shows will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for students/seniors.

Though spectators will recognize some familiar faces, "Our Town" is ushering 11 freshmen into the spotlight. And while that's a high number, the majority of those 11 possess theatre experience.

"I cannot brag on this cast enough. I'm extremely proud of all of them. They are awesome. (Junior) Aaron White is one to look out for. He keeps getting better with every rehearsal," Crane said.

"Our Town" first hit the stage 80 years ago. There have been numerous adaptations since, including a live musical version that starred Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman. David Cromer produced a 2009 revival which boasted a star-studded cast that included Helen Hunt and Michael McKean.

Regardless of the cast or the decade in which it was performed, the central themes tethered to "Our Town" has enabled it to withstand the test of time.

"It is a play about small-town America, about family, about love, about loss and everything in between. Everyone can relate to something in Our Town. It is full of universal truths we are still living today," Crane noted.

Check Marquette Catholic High School's Facebook page for more information.

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