FUSE announces lineup for upcoming season

STATE COLLEGE — What do the Cold War, George Seurat and Jesus Christ all have in common?

The answer lies in the arts — these are the subjects in FUSE Productions’ three Mainstage musicals in its 2018-19 season lineup.

Heading into the “new” season, long-time Producing Artistic director Richard Biever says, “As usual, I was wondering what would shake things up. We are known for doing adventuresome pieces, and ‘Chess’ seemed like a show that would create discussion.”

“Chess” — An allegory about Cold War tensions, “Chess” features two chess grandmasters, the earnest Russian champion and the loutish American challenger, who fight over the woman who manages one of them.

With a monumental rock score composed by ABBA with lyrics by Tim Rice, this political-driven chess tournament with romantic rivalries kicks off the all musical season with performances on September 13-15.

Biever notes that FUSE’s production features a trio of New York based actors with professional credits and Penn State pedigrees.

“Sunday In the Park With George” — The winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama run on Broadway from 1984 to 1985.

“Perhaps the most complex of our three musicals, ‘Sunday In the Park With George’ is about creating art and trying to maintain a relationship at the same time,” Biever says.

Inspired by a famous George Seurat painting, Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s musical will be presented on February 21-23, 2019.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” — What originated as a concept album was developed into a Broadway stage production, which received mixed reviews, although it ran from Oct .1971 until June 1973. There have been constant revivals, including an acclaimed live telecast on NBC in April, 2018.

“The original was created to be heard, not seen”, notes Biever. “The challenge is how to create a piece that visually tells the story.”

As the FUSE season closer, the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera will be presented on June 20-23.

Headquartered at 1109 S. Pugh St, State College, FUSE productions stages its Mainstage attractions in Schwab Auditorium on Penn State’s University Park campus.

The fully staged performances feature live musical accompaniment, with casts comprised of local actors, Penn State students, faculty, alumni and professional actors from around the country.

For more information, call 814-380-8672 or visit http://fuseproductios.org.