The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Letter to the Editor: In response to inaccessibility on campus
Letter to the Editor: In response to inaccessibility on campus
by Advocacy, Community, Education and Support (ACES), Special to The Simpsonian • March 1, 2024

Dear Editor, We write in response to an article published February 14, 2024, in The Simpsonian titled, “No disabled students need apply:...

Retraction and update: After Midnight review
Retraction and update: "After Midnight" review
by Maggie Fitzpatrick, Staff Reporter • February 28, 2024

In my previous review of the late-night show "After Midnight", I stated that comedian Matt Walsh, who was a guest on the show, is “a prominent...

SCTV 2/28/24
by Aaron Wilkins and Sam HyingFebruary 28, 2024

Simpson Productions prepares for “The Telephone” and “The Medium”

Abby Hintz
Simpson Productions brought in guest artist, Kellie Motter. Motter is playing the role of Lucy in “The Telephone”. Jillian Wells is playing Madame Flora (Baba) in “The Medium”.

“The Telephone” and “The Medium”, a double-bill production, will be shown in the Blank Performing Arts Center from February 16th through the 18th. 

The double bill originally premiered on February 18th, 1947 at the Heckscher Theatre in New York. Simpson Productions said they plan to produce these pieces 77 years later (almost) to the day. 

“The Telephone”

According to the Simpson Productions website, “The Telephone is a comedic piece that explores love in the 21st century.” Although the play is originally written and set in an apartment with a landline, Simpson Productions plans to take a more modern approach with smartphones. 

Lucy, played by Simpson vocal instructor Kellie Motter, becomes so enamored with everyone contacting her through her device that she fails to be fully present with Ben, played by Nate Hill. Ben must resort to his smartphone in order to connect with Lucy. This production plays on the idea that we live and communicate through our phones more than we do in person. 

Interestingly enough, there will be no student performance in the play, as no students were cast in the production.  This was cause for some conversation within the theater department. 

Cast member Anaka Wamstad-Evans said, “It’s a little frustrating because in, “The Medium” there’s only five singing roles and one acting role, and so I sometimes wish that they picked an opera that was opened up more to the music department or for more people to be in.” 

Wamstad-Evans says she understands why it was cast this way and can’t wait to see Motter sing. 

When  asked about this controversial casting decision, Jennifer Nostrala, the head of the theater department, said, “Our initial plan was to only produce ‘The Medium.’ Once we knew we were going to do that show, and that I would direct it, I began to think about what we might pair with it to make it a more complete evening at the theater. (“The Medium,” runs a little less than an hour.) 

“Kellie Motter and I discussed options, and we decided that producing “The Telephone” with guest artists would be ideal,” Nostrala said. “It isn’t so much that they were ‘pre-cast’; it was that we chose to do the project with them.”

She also noted that it would be a great opportunity for students to see one of their faculty members performing, as Kellie Motter is a Vocal Instructor at Simpson. 

“The Medium”

The second opera Simpson Productions is producing this semester is “The Medium.”

The play follows a character named Baba’s descent into madness as her illusions start to become real. 

The Simpson Productions page said  it “is a darker tale involving a fake psychic, whose surprise encounter with The Unknown leads to murder and mayhem.” The story also follows characters Monica and Toby, played by Aaron Scholes, who use romance and adventure to escape the difficult life they’re caught up in. 

This opera is a double-casted performance, meaning two of the main roles are being played by two different people. The role of Monica is played by Olivia diBari and Leah Wilson and the role of Baba, or Madame Flora, is played by Lyza Cue and Jillian Wells. 

Wamstad-Evans, who is playing the role of Mrs. Nolan, said, “I think it’s interesting. It gives us experience in the real world and working on operas where it’s very common to be an understudy or to be double cast.” 

Nostrala said something similar: “It is standard practice in college and university music programs to double cast some roles,” she said. “With an opera of this size (five singing roles and one acting role), it was particularly important as it increases the opportunities for students. The vocal demands for the characters of Baba and Monica are also such that it is healthy for the singer to have a day of vocal rest before a performance.”

You can purchase tickets now online or at the box office before the shows.

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About the Contributors
Josephine Brockman, Staff Reporter
Abby Hintz, ID Magazine Editor-in-Chief & Layout Editor

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