FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 13, 2006
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Threadgill Series brings a bit of Broadway to Columbus
on Oct. 20
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women’s
campus community and the public will be treated to a
rare evening of readings and performance on Friday, Oct.
The 2006 Leslie F. Threadgill Lecture and Artist Series
will bring a bit of Broadway to Columbus as it presents
an evening of music from Elizabeth Spencer’s “Light in
the Piazza” with Spencer, Patti Cohenour, Katie Clarke
and Jamie Schmidt.
The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in Rent Auditorium,
Spencer, an author and Mississippi native, will read
passages from her novel, “The Light in the Piazza,”
which was adapted into a 1962 feature film and a 2003
musical that made its way to Broadway and won six Tony
Awards in 2005.
“The show just closed in July in New York after running
for two years,” according to William “Peppy” Biddy,
chair of the MUW Department of Music and Theatre, who
noted the show was developed at the Sundance Theatre
Lab, where he has worked as production manager for the
past few years. “It’s going to be a special evening that
we will not see here again.”
Three people who were a part of the actual Broadway show
will be a part of the evening, he said.
Biddy also noted the music would be by Adam Guettel.
“He’s a young and upcoming composer who won a Tony for
his music, which is very sophisticated.”
Spencer, who was born in 1921 in Carrollton, has
authored nine novels, three collections of short
stories, while also working on an as-yet incomplete
memoir. She was the 1996-1997 recipient of the John
William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence.
She also will headline the slate of authors who will
read and discuss their work at the 18th annual Eudora
Welty Writers’ Symposium to be held at MUW Oct. 19-21.
Cohenour originated the following Broadway roles:
Signora Naccarelli and the Margaret alternate in "Light
in the Piazza" at Lincoln Center, Mary Jane in "Big
River," Rosabud in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (New
York and London), Christine in "Phantom of the Opera,”
Mother Abbess in "The Sound of Music" (revival), and she
understudied Nora in "A Doll’s Life."
She is a recipient of a Tony nomination, two Drama Desk
nominations, the Clarence Derwent Award and the Theatre
Clarke made her Broadway debut as Clara Johnson in
Lincoln’s Center’s "Light in the Piazza." While Clarke
was in New York one summer participating in an intensive
dance program at NYU, a friend suggested that the
fair-haired soprano meet with a college buddy who was
now working on Broadway as a conductor and musical
As Clarke neared the end of her last semester of college
in Texas, the search was in full swing in New York for a
newcomer to play Clara in the Broadway production of
"Light in the Piazza." Friends in New York called her
to audition, and, within a week, the role was hers.
Schmidt, music director, conductor and pianist, is the
founding music director for American Girl Place Theaters
in Chicago and New York, for the past eight years
opening and music directing all shows and cast albums of
The American Girls Revue and Circle of Friends.
Also a freelance musician, his Broadway shows include
"Light in the Piazza," "Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me,"
and "Bombay Dreams;" off-Broadway: "I Love You, You're
Perfect, Now Change.” He is a staff pianist for the
Radio City Christmas Spectacular and also was music
director, orchestrator and piano/conductor for the Long
Wharf Theatre's 2004 production of "Guys and Dolls."
The orchestrations were later used to great acclaim at
the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida in a similar
Tickets for MUW and Mississippi School for Mathematics
and Science students, faculty and staff are
complimentary and underwritten by the Leslie F.
Threadgill Lecture and Artist Series Endowment held by
the MUW Foundation. All other tickets are $10 each.
Tickets may be purchased or picked up in the MUW Office
of Development in Welty Hall, Room 200. For more
information, contact Mary Margaret Roberts at
email@example.com or (662) 329-7151.