University Relations and Marketing

Contacts:
Theatre Department, 657-1722
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269

November 3, 2011

MSU Billings students perform 'Crimes of the Heart,' a tale of a troubled southern family

Performances set for Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 16-19

MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The Associated Students of Montana State University Billings Drama Committee and theatre program students will present its fall production “Crimes of Heart” starting next week at MSU Billings.

Chae Clearwood, left, Amada Grubbs and Bobbi Kay Kupfner play the roles of the three Magrath sisters in MSU Billings’ production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Crimes of the Heart.”The play runs Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 16-19 in the Liberal Arts Building small theater, Room 620. Curtain time is 7 p.m. for all performances.

The play, written by Beth Henley, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1981 and will feature a talented cast of undergraduate students under the direction of Randy Pugh, longtime theater lecturer at MSU Billings.

“Crimes of the Heart” concerns the lives of a group of women in Henley’s native Mississippi. The main characters are the Magrath sisters of Hazelhurst and the play takes place a few years after Hurricane Camille brought destruction to the Gulf Coast in August 1969. The sisters, abandoned by their father and devastated by the suicide of their mother, have forged distinct lives for themselves as adults.  There are, however, undercurrents of family issues.

Lenny, the eldest, has remained at the home to care for their elderly grandfather who hovers near death as the play begins. The middle sister, Meg, who left home to pursue a career as an entertainer in California has been summoned home to join the vigil and also to support the youngest sister, Babe. Babe, meanwhile, has been arrested for the attempted murder of her husband, a prominent local attorney

Clearwood runs through a scene with David HarmanAs the drama unfolds, the audience meets the remaining cast members: the Magrath’s nosy next door neighbor — and first cousin — Chick; Meg’s former and now married boyfriend, Doc Porter; and a young lawyer, Barnette Loyd, who takes on the daunting task of defending Babe in her upcoming trial.

In its review of the original production of “Crimes of the Heart,” the New York Times said: “While this play overflows with infectious high spirits, it is also, unmistakably, the tale of a very troubled family. Such is Miss Henley’s prodigious talent that she can serve us pain as though it were a piece of cake.”

The MSU Billings production will have several roles that have been double cast, in keeping with the theatre program’s mission of giving as many students as possible the opportunity to participate in a public performance.

The cast includes:

  • Bobbi Kay Kupfner as Lenny
  • Ethan Billin as Barnette
  • Chae Clearwood and Christine Krell, sharing the role of Meg
  • Amanda Grubbs and Amber Chapman, sharing the role of Babe
  • Cydney Mann and Amanda Losness sharing the role of Chick
  • Sean Slaugh and David Harman, sharing the role of Doc

Pugh said he considers all of the characters and performers to be equal s in bringing the characters to life on the stage.

Advance reservations for the production are strongly recommended because there is limited seating in the small theater. Call 657-1222 to make reservations for all performances.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens and students. MSU Billings students can be admitted free with a current valid ID to either the Wednesday, Nov. 9 or Nov. 16 performances on a first-come, first-served basis.

All phone reservations will be held until 6:30 p.m. on the day of the show. Unclaimed tickets will be released at that time. Because of limited staff, the box office does not open until 6 p.m. on performance days and tickets may not be picked up before that time. 

For more information or to make reservations, call 657-1722.

PHOTO ABOVE: Chae Clearwood, left, Amada Grubbs and Bobbi Kay Kupfner play the roles of the three Magrath sisters in MSU Billings’ production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Crimes of the Heart.” Performances are set for Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 16-19. Below, Clearwood runs through a scene with David Harman, who plays the role of her former boyfriend Doc Porter.


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