Villanova Theatre celebrates 50 years

Julie Balzarini

The Villanova Theatre Department celebrated its 50th anniversary season this year, opening with Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” Originally planned for April 5, the anniversary celebration has been rescheduled, but the department has not yet chosen a date.

“It will take place next season, to usher in the next 50 years of Villanova Theatre,” Meg Devine, director of Marketing and Public Relations for Villanova Theatre wrote in an e-mail.

Alumni, subscribers, donors and friends of the department will be invited to a cocktail party with a slide show and a silent auction.

“We decided to postpone this year in order to allow time to get in touch with all of our alumni who might want to attend,” Devine wrote.

The entire past season was a celebration of the department’s 50 years.

“Each of the shows in the season was chosen specifically because it drew on one of the themes and traditions that have been represented at Villanova Theatre over the past five decades,” Devine wrote.

“Long Day’s Journey into Night” was the first production ever performed in Vasey Theatre, 40 years before this year’s production. It was directed both times by Robert Hedley, one of the early chairs of the department. He has directed in Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco, and was Artistic Director of the Iowa Shakespeare Festival.

“Le Dindon (An Absolute Turkey),” written by Georges Feydeau, was second in the theatre’s anniversary season.

“Villanova Theatre has always exposed its students to the richness of the European dramatic tradition, and “Le Dindon” was a great example of that,” Devine wrote.

“Metamorphoses,” based on David R. Slavitt’s translation of “The Metamorphoses of Ovid” and written by Mary Zimmerman, continued the celebration.

The action of the contemporary play took place in and around a 14-foot by 24-foot pool, constructed in Vasey Theatre.

The celebratory season concluded with “Cabaret,” featuring a cast of graduate students, undergraduates and two Villanova faculty members.

“Villanova Theatre has always excelled at musical theatre, and ‘Cabaret’ really showed that strength,” Devine wrote. “The musical was first produced at Villanova Theatre 30 years ago, and this time around, it sold out the entire last week of performances.”

Villanova Theatre’s 2009-10 season will include William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” Euripides’ “Medea,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”