Curtain to rise again on Heartland Festival

May 24, 2013

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Heartland Festival

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — Following a one-year hiatus due to renovations of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Center for the Arts, the 2013 Heartland Festival is set to bring up the curtain June 7. This year will mark the 12th season for the Heartland Festival.

“Heartland Festival 2013 will reenergize the arts community and give everyone something to look forward to during the months of June and July,” said Michael Breitner, managing director of this year’s festival.

“This year’s festival will include some exciting changes,” said Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, who is serving as co-artistic director for this year’s festival, along with Dr. David Schuler. “In previous years, the festival ran for 10 weeks, from June until August. This year’s festival will only be eight weeks, but the number of performances will remain the same. In addition to the shorter timeline, the two musicals will run consecutively rather than concurrently. The dinner theatre show will run throughout the festival.”

“We thought it was important to bring the festival in line with other summer stock theatre schedules,” said Schuler. “It makes it easier on the staff, and it allows us to focus our energy and resources on one show at a time. The Missoula Children’s Theatre will also be back with two residencies to accommodate the tremendous interest.”

Because the festival was not offered last summer, the co-directors wanted to be sure to select shows that would entice the audiences to return. “The first show of the 2013 season will be ‘Frankly Scarlett, You’re Dead!’ a dinner theatre production set in the antebellum South directed by Farrelly,” said Breitner. “The CFA Theatre will host the hilarious ‘Nunsense,’ directed by Schuler. The final show of the season will be the timeless musical, ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ directed by Farrelly and starring Schuler as Tevye. Connie SaLoutos Furlan will return to choreograph both musicals. Missoula Children’s Theatre will return with two offerings: ‘Princess and the Pea,’ June 10-15 and ‘Pinocchio,’ July 8-13.”

The festival will open June 7 with “Frankly Scarlett, You’re Dead!” “Nunsense” will run June 14-30, and “Fiddler on the Roof” will run July 6-21.

“We are looking forward to this season. I think the shows we have picked will provide many opportunities for both actors and audiences,” said Farrelly.  “We really missed being a part of the Platteville community last summer, and we look forward to coming back better than ever.”

“The festival’s absence last year just made its importance more obvious to everyone,” added Farrelly. “The return of the Heartland Festival will only help to remind people of the essential role the arts play in our community. We are very excited to be back, and I think Platteville is excited to have the festival back.”

The scope of the Heartland Festival is not centered entirely on campus. The event is geared toward the community. “The Heartland Festival is an integral and essential part of the Platteville community,” said Farrelly. “The festival brings people to our area, and, in turn, they shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants. The festival gives Platteville a heartbeat in the summer. When the renovations postponed the festival last summer, you could feel the difference in the community. It just wasn't the same. Also, the festival gives the community the opportunity to participate in the arts (onstage, backstage, and in the audience) through the summer months. The community is such a huge part of the festival and the festival is a huge part of the community.”

The Heartland Festival utilizes the diverse talents of those in the community as well as professional actors. It is a collaborative effort that makes the festival such a success. “What I like the most about the Heartland Festival from an educational point of view is that our students, as well as students from other universities and colleges, get the opportunity to work in a summer stock setting alongside community members and professionals,” said Farrelly. “It helps prepare them for their future careers in the arts.”

“Many of the cast and crew are university students on summer break,” said Breitner. “The Heartland Festival gives them an opportunity to gain valuable experience in acting, set building, and lighting design.”

“Anytime you participate in the theatrical production process, you learn more and more,” said Farrelly. “For the community, it is an opportunity to work with professionals and future professionals. For students, it is a necessary step in their training for the real world and the theatre business. For everyone, it's an opportunity to collaborate under demanding conditions. Everyone benefits, and, I think, everyone comes away from the experience feeling as though they did something special.”

Performance times and prices can be found at http://www.theheartlandfestival.com.

Contact: Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, co-artistic director, (608) 342-6045, farrellya@uwplatt.edu; Dr. David Schuler, co-artistic director, (608) 342-1198, schulerd@uwplatt.edu; Michael J. Breitner, managing director, (608) 342-2787, breitnerm@uwplatt.edu

Formatted by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, wackersd@uwplatt.edu

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