From Oct. 12-16, NU Theatre’s 54th season sets sail with Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Trevor Copp, physical theatre adjunct. Based (loosely) on John Wesley Powell’s published record of the 1869 journey, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, this thrilling new play follows the one-armed explorer and his ridiculous band of followers through raging rapids of comedy. The male bluster and bravado of the archetypal adventurer gets a twist as all 10 men are played by women.

“The piece takes a familiar bit of history and defamiliarizes it - making it new, unseen and unknown again - to allow us to ‘see’ it for the first time, again,” Copp said. “It’s a brilliant ride on rapids of thoughts and feeling, and we’ve loved every moment.”

Men on Boats will be on stage in the Leary Theatre within the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, and Monday, Oct. 16, and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15.

Costume, hair and makeup design is by Maureen T. Stevens, associate professor/costume, hair and makeup designer. Light design is by associate professor/scenic designer and production manager David Dwyer and sound coordination is by adjunct faculty member Glenn Bernardis. Set design is by theatre design/production student Andrew Hayes (Tonawanda, N.Y.). Stage manager is theatre design/production major Kimberly Pukay (East Concord, N.Y.). Assistant stage managers are theatre performance majors Sarah Gadawaski (Lewiston, N.Y.) and Heather Gervasi (West Falls, N.Y.).

Niagara University theatre performance majors who are in the cast include Carly L. Weldy (John Wesley Powell) of West Seneca, N.Y.; Sophia Matlasz (William Dunn) of Williamsville, N.Y.; Amelia Roque (John Colton Sumner) of Boise, Idaho; Kyla Jack Farrell (Old Shady) of Rochester, N.Y.; Sarah Emmerling (Bradley) of Orchard Park, N.Y.; Toni Shinkel (O.G. Howland) of Tucson, Arizona; Anika Pace (Seneca Howland) of Buffalo, N.Y.; Lindsey Pastuszynski (Frank Goodwin) of Hamburg, N.Y.; Cassidy Kruezer (Hall) of Cheektowaga, N.Y.; and Kenya King (Hawkins) of Buffalo, N.Y.

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