BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College’s Theatre program will make history as it debuts the world premiere of the rock opera “The Interstellar Healer.”
The production will be performed April 10, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. and April 13 at 2 p.m. It will also be streamed live on the Internet through Bethany Broadcast Network, located through www.bethanywv.edu. Book a reservation by calling 304-829-7124. Tickets are $5.
The musical, written and composed by Nashville-based composer-musician-singer-actor Tim Zimmerman, takes place at the dawn of time. Angelic beings (Alanna Hunter-Crump, Ashlee Bex, Kvanna Diaz) are delighted by the original “creators:” a painter (Octavia Holton); a dancer (Grace Beck); an architect (Lilianna Hardt); and a writer, Bartholomew (Zimmerman).
Their assistors (John Vucich, Jordan Jones, William Cazares, Dan Harry, Rich Oliver) overthrow them by removing their hearts and turning them into a powerful new breed: the Numbersmen. Their attempt to do this with Bartholomew is only partially successful, as he begins to turn their own violence against them. The Angel, Michaela (Hunter-Crump), hopes Bartholomew will recover his loving, creative nature. When this hope is fulfilled, Bartholomew is yet again partially transformed into The Interstellar Healer. Now with the power to heal, he travels time and the universe aboard the starship True Fortune until his journey brings him to Earth in the year 2184. And that’s just Act 1!
“For our program to be the first in the world to stage this rock opera is literally making history,” said Luke Hardt, Associate Professor of Theatre, Director of the Bethany College Theatre, and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. He added that it is a big risk in theatre to take on something unfamiliar to audiences. “Everyone is working very hard to make this happen, and it is my hope that audiences will reward us with their attendance."
The production was brought to Hardt’s attention by Amanda McCoy, a 2009 Bethany alumna who majored in music. After graduation, she began working in Nashville, where she met Zimmerman and learned of his rock opera. She had the idea to tell Hardt about the script, and he instantly thought of it as “a big risk, big reward” opportunity for Bethany, he said.
Hardt is directing the production and Pandel Collaros, Assistant Professor of Music, is the musical director. Oliver is the assistant director.
The cast also includes Keith Hardt as the Golden Child. Crew members include Ladria Turner, Floyd Alexander, Aidan Garvey, Robert Seman, Jeremy Starr, Anthony Smith, Tyrell Scott and Adam Atwell. Stage managers are Jayson Canter, David Camacho and Hunter-Crump.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.