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Theatre & Dance presents 'An Inspector Calls'

Lamar University’s Department of Theatre & Dance will open the 2011-12 season Sept. 22 with the suspenseful British parlor drama “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestley. Directed by senior theatre major Bonnie Dupuis of Groves and starring Lamar instructor Joel Grothe in the title role, the play will run through Sept. 25 in the University Theatre.

Set in an English industrial city, “An Inspector Calls” tells the story of a young girl who commits suicide and a respectable British family who is subject to an inquiry in connection with the death. As a mysterious inspector interrogates the Birling family, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl's undoing.

“As a whole, I think the audience is confronted with the notion of how they shape their own reality versus how it is shaped by others,” said Dupuis. “It’s thought-provoking and entertaining. It’s a ‘whodunit’ without being a traditional ‘whodunit,’ and audiences will not want to miss Mr. Grothe’s acting debut on the Lamar stage.”

Grothe teaches acting and directing in the Department of Theatre & Dance. A professional actor, he most recently portrayed Dan Buchanan in the highly acclaimed production of “Street Scene” produced by GirlFridayProductions in Minneapolis.

“Professor Grothe has directed a number of plays, but this is his first time on stage since coming to Lamar,” said Judy Sebesta, chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance. “It has been a great experience for the student actors to work with a professional like him.”

The cast also features another Lamar faculty member: Andy Coughlan, interim director of student publications, takes on the role of Arthur Birling. Other cast members include Bethany Eldred, Beaumont; Steven Hoffman Jr., Silsbee; Maci McFarlin, Nederland; Allison Underhill, Port Arthur; and Joseph Whitaker, Beaumont.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22–24, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in the University Theatre, 4400 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens, students and LU faculty/staff; and $7 for LU students. Call (409) 880-2250for reservations and additional information.