For musical theatre students at the U, a new school year entails more than buying textbooks and writing essays. These talented triple-threats train in acting, dancing and singing as they prepare performances and spend countless hours training in their craft.
Right now, these students are preparing to start a brand new season with the premiere of the musical “Steel Pier.” Set in the 1930s, the production tells the story of an unlikely pair — a stunt pilot and an aging dancer, who enter a marathon dance contest together. The show is designed to showcase the diverse talents of the student artists at the U. The dance-heavy musical is sure to feature dazzling choreography, and the score’s mix of 1930s pastiche and classic theatre songwriting will give many vocalists a moment in the spotlight. This production also boasts a unique technical design.

The Department of Theatre’s website said, “Department of Theatre Chair and Set Designer for this production Gage Williams, has designed a set that allows several audience members to sit onstage during the entire performance to experience the phenomenal music and infectious singing up-close.”

Steel Pier debuted on Broadway in 1997, and ran for 76 performances. While the musical may not be well known outside circles of theatre aficionados, the show’s creative team is filled with Broadway heavy hitters. The show’s music is written by John Kander and Frank Ebb, who also wrote the lyrics and score for such acclaimed musicals as “Cabaret” and “Chicago.” Meanwhile, the show’s bookwriter, David Thompson, is also a Broadway regular who has been nominated for two Tony Awards.
The show will run Sept. 15-17 and 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 16, 17, 23, and 24 at 2 p.m., The play will be performed at the Marriott Center for Dance. Tickets are free for U students with a student ID, and cost $18 for general admission.

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Josh Petersen is the digital managing editor at The Chronicle. Previously, he was the assistant arts editor and a staff writer for the opinion desk. He has won multiple awards for his writing, including the national Mark of Excellence award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a senior studying English, psychology and political science.

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