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Playhouse debuts play featuring popular music

Written By Victoria Lemon, Playhouse Beat Writer

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The Conservatory Theatre Company is presenting its first production of 2017 with “Big Love.” Directed by Reginald Douglas, “Big Love” is a modern take on the Greek playwright Aeschylus’s play, “The Suppliants.”

The story is about fifty women that are told they must marry their cousins; thus, they flee from Greece to Italy in an attempt to escape the men. This contemporary version of “The Suppliants” focuses on three couples and topics such as gender equality, love and domestic violence.

“It’s about loving yourself, gender equality and being true to who you are,” said Bebe Tabickman, senior musical theatre major who plays role of Bella. “It’s crazy how this play was written 20 years ago and it’s just so relevant to today.”

The play “Big Love” is an opportunity for students to embrace loving themselves and putting themselves first.

“It’s definitely about finding and loving yourself first,” Markia Smith said. “It’s a lot about making decisions for yourself while also keeping in mind how the decisions you make affect others. It is a journey to finding inner strength,” said sophomore musical theatre major Markia Smith.

Smith is playing the role of Lydia in “Big Love” after having previously performed as the Acid Queen in the Conservatory Theatre Company’s production of “The Who’s Tommy” in October. She said that “Big Love” was very similar to a musical in the physicality of the show, but different because there is no definitive lead.

“With ‘Big Love,’ there isn’t one person who you are following the whole time,” Smith said. “It’s an ensemble piece. No one is ever on stage alone for more than a few seconds. If you took away a character, the story wouldn’t be able to be told. Everyone is equally important.”

Douglas, the director of “Big Love” and artistic producer at Pittsburgh City Theatre, is particularly excited for this production. Douglas learned about Point Park’s conservatory program through Sheila McKenna, the chair of the theatre department.

Douglas has been a guest artist and a guest lecturer in past acting and directing classes, where he interacted with Point Park students.

“I really thought the students were so smart and funny and talented,” Douglas said. “It’s all student actors, which is really different, but also really inspiring …. I think that the student actors are brave and courageous in ways that professional actors are not. I think the spirit of professionalism and excellence and collaboration is the same [as City Theatre], which is really special about Point Park.”

This show is different from others previously performed at the Playhouse because it features songs by artists such as Beyoncé, Kayne West and the Beatles.

“It’s kind of a play that has everything,” Douglas said. “It has music, it has romance, it has comedy, it has drama and it has Beyoncé. It feels very current and timely to right now. It’s a play about acceptance and love and during these divisive times, those are themes we really could use more of.”

The show opens in the Rauh Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse on Feb. 24 and will run until March 12. There will be a preview on Feb. 23.

Tickets range from $10-$24 and can be purchased at the Playhouse box office or by calling at (412) 392-8000.

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