Adam Gillen (red shirt), a senior from Adrien, Mich., is Bill Starbuck in Evangel’s presentation of The Rainmaker. During a recent dress rehearsal, he worked a scene with (left-to-right) Annalise Williams (Lizzy Curry), a junior from Columbus, Ohio; Darrick Clark (H.C. Curry), a junior from Clever, Mo.; Chandler Gray (Jimmy Curry) a sophomore from Sedalia, Mo.; and David Farmer (Noah Curry), a sophomore from Sapulpa, Okla. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel University Theatre Program will present three performances of Richard Nash’s classic play The Rainmaker on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 and 7 p.m.

The play will be presented in Evangel’s fine arts theatre. The entrance to the Barnett Fine Arts Center is just south of the Spence Chapel, at 1111 N. Glenstone Ave. in Springfield.

Tickets are available online — $10 for adults and $5 for students with a student ID. The Theatre Box Office will open 30 minutes prior to the show, for those who prefer to make a cash purchase.

The Rainmaker opened in New York City in 1954, and according to Wikipedia, “The reviews called the play ‘Stirring’ (Newsday), ‘captivating’ (The New York Times), ‘wonderfully funny’ (New York Daily News), and a ‘classic’ (Chicago Sun-Times).”

The play was made into a film in 1956, starring Burt Lancaster and Katherine Hepburn. The film version was nominated for two Academy Awards and four Golden Globes.

Darrick Clark (H.C. Curry), David Farmer (Noah Curry), and Chandler Gray (Jimmy Curry) rehearse a scene. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon

 

Rainmaker Synopsis

At the time of a paralyzing drought in the West, we discover a girl whose father and two brothers are worried as much about her potential future as an old maid as they are about their dying cattle. For the truth is, she is indeed a plain girl.

The brothers try every possible scheme to marry her off, without success, nor is there any sign of relief from the dry heat.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a sweet-talking man appears with quite the sales pitch.

Claiming to be a “Rainmaker,” the man promises to bring rain for the small price of $100. It’s a silly idea, but the rainmaker is so refreshing and persistent that the family finally consents, banging on big brass drums to rattle the sky.

Adam Gillen plays the part of Bill Starbuck, and Annalise Williams plays the part of Lizzy Curry. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon

Meanwhile, the rainmaker also turns his magic on the girl, and persuades her that she has a very real beauty of her own. She believes it, just as her father believes the fellow can actually bring rain.

Rain does come, and so does love. An excellent play for all age groups!

 

Director’s notes

“Drought…ever hear of it? It is a dry season where growth is stunted and dust blows. It is a time where there is a yearning for wetness or nourishment — something that will bring growth and beauty back to the earth. Drought can happen in the climate and drought can happen in our hearts,” said Lori Lawley, co-producer of the play.

“This production has been eye-opening and soul-filling, as we have looked deeply into our own periods of drought, whether it be in relationships, or faith, or trust.”

Lawley is an Evangel theatre alumna, adjunct professor, and blocking and acting coach. She works alongside Dr. Vickie Wisdom, director of theatre at Evangel, and co-director of The Rainmaker.

 

Theatre at Evangel

The theatre program at Evangel University is under the Humanities Department and is housed in the Barnett Fine Arts Center.

“EU theatre is a vibrant, growing program that has seen more than a 200% increase in majors and minors in the past three years,” said Dr. Wisdom.

“Our graduates are successful across the country as teachers, managers, actors, playwrights, directors, pastors, programmers, administrators, community builders, MFA graduate students and the list goes on.”

David Farmer is Noah Curry in Evangel University’s fall presentation of The Rainmaker. Noah reluctantly counts out the $100 fee to Bill Starbuck, played by Adam Gillen. Looking on are Annalise Williams (Lizzy Curry) and Darrick Clark (H.C. Curry). // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon

 

Student reaction

Students enjoy the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with technical professionals, in addition to their faculty members

Pat Bogle serves as the technical director for the theatre program at Evangel. He is a contracted specialist for all of the Stagecraft classes and labs, according to Dr. Wisdom.

“He helped in the final design of the set and has worked alongside our students as he directed the building of the set,” she said. Working alongside the students is key.

“Pat is an amazing man who has an obvious passion for helping others grow and learn,” said Chandler Gray, a junior from Sedalia, Missouri. “He is always willing to allow a student to try something even if they don’t do it exactly right the first time. In those moments, he does not get upset because of the mistake, but he uses it as a teaching moment. He actively works to coach us through the building process and encourages us to take chances.

“Pat sees the potential in every student even when they do not necessarily see it in themselves,” added Gray. “Overall, he is not just a teacher, he is a coach that allows everyone to understand the process through their own successes and mistakes.”

Gray is pursuing a double major in theatre and church leadership. He is a Founders Scholar at Evangel, and is in the 4+1 Fast-Track Program, which will see him earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.

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SIDEBAR: Three majors in Theatre Program

There are three majors offered to students interested in this area of study.

• The theatre major provides instruction in theatre history, literary appreciation of dramatic literature, dramatic interpretation, and the performance skills demanded of a theatre artist. Theatre majors gain practical experiences in acting, directing, set design and costume design.

• The theatre/speech education degree program brings the stage to life for those passionate about educating students in effective interpretation. The program provides a broad track with exposure to multiple disciplines of informative, dramatic, persuasive and improvisational communication styles. Students may also get practical experience in speech and debate by participating with Evangel’s forensics team.

• The Humanities Department and the Music Department have collaborated to offer a major, combining elements of both theatre and music instruction. Evangel developed the theatre/music program to meet a clear need in professional-theatre and church sectors for well-trained college graduates with a hybrid theatre-and-music background.

“If you have a passion for integrating live theatre with your faith, please contact me at wisdomv@evangel.edu,” said Dr. Vickie Wisdom, director of theatre at Evangel, “Our leadership team is ready to welcome you!”

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