After seven years of successful Shakespeare productions in the University’s outdoor amphitheater each spring, the Department of Theatre at Stanislaus State will be bringing a different production to life under the stars this year.
There are few stories as well-known as John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” a masterpiece that tells an enduring story of friendship between George and Lennie, two itinerant workers in California during the Great Depression. The relatable themes and the play’s Central Valley roots cemented the decision of Stan State’s Department of Theatre to change its annual, fully-staged production in the University Amphitheater to put Steinbeck in the spotlight.
“Of Mice and Men” will play in the University Amphitheatre from Tuesday, May 2 through Sunday, May 7. The performances are offered free of charge.
The struggles, joys and ultimate downfall of George, a caretaker, and Lennie, a childlike giant, are captured in inimitable style of Steinbeck, who adapted his own novella for the stage in 1937. The story follows the unlikely friends as they begin work on a local ranch and dream about the future. At its core, Steinbeck’s story is about bringing people together, creating the perfect opportunity for Stan State to celebrate its own role in uniting the community by becoming a cultural center for the region. The production, open to the public, casts a combination of Stan State students, community members and professional actors.
This production of Steinbeck Under the Stars, and next year’s production, are supported by a $25,000 gift from Emanuel Medical Center.
“Emanuel Medical Center is incredibly proud to partner with Stanislaus State for this production of Steinbeck Under the Stars, which will provide an opportunity for the community to experience live theatre in a beautiful outdoor setting, right here in Turlock,” said Sue Micheletti, chief executive officer of Emanuel Medical Center. “We believe the arts are a vital part of a healthy and vibrant community.”
Audiences will laugh and cry as the story is captured on a grand set, with full costumes and lighting, on a stunning outdoor stage. Faux Renwah featuring Cactus Bob and the Prairie Flower will play live music.
Performances start at dusk, but the gates open at 6:30 p.m. You can bring blankets or low-back chairs, and picnics are encouraged. Concessions, offered by Chartwell’s, will be available for purchase. No alcohol or glass bottles please. This show is recommended for audiences age 12 and up.