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State College theater group plans ‘virtual’ schedule

STATE COLLEGE — Like all theatre companies, whether high school, community, collegiate, summer stock or professional, FUSE Productions was required to pull the plug on its in-person shows since March.

But Richard Biever, long-time producing artistic director, while bemoaning that FUSE had to cancel three new productions (“Ruthless,” “Naked Mole Rat Get Dresses,” “Pippin”) and a revival of its hit musical “Matilda,” is optimistically looking ahead.

In addition to continuing FUSE musical theatre cabarets and play readings, plus potential holiday shows in December, Biever announces that the entire 2020-21 season will be produced virtually.

The first production is “Golden Boy,” based upon the Clifford Odets play.

The rarely produced 1964 musical focuses upon a young black man from Harlem, trying to better himself and rise out of the ghetto by acquiring fame in the brutal world of boxing.

But despite early successes, his world starts to crumble when the boxer falls in love with his manager’s girl, a “seen-it-all white woman.”

“Golden Boy” will be performed virtually on Oct. 16 and 17.

Biever notes that “this show will be produced virtually so all actors will remain in their home location and participate via Zoom. Approximately 75% will be live during the performances. Musical numbers involving multiple performers will be filmed, edited, and blended with the live scenes during the livestream of the show.”

The second production is “The Fox Sisters,” a brand new musical.

This show was penned by the same trio who wrote “The Prince’s New Pet,” the children’s musical which FUSE performed in May of 2019.

Based upon a true story, “The Fox Sisters” traces the emergence of spiritualism in upstate New York in the mid-1880s.

FUSE will produce a virtual reading of the musical on or about Nov. 20, with Biever hoping to stage a full production in 2021.

FUSE Productions, which is in the middle of its seventh season, is located at 1108 S. Pugh St., State College.

Biever also announces that the final show of the “season” will be a virtual production of the classic “The Wizard of Oz,” with the date to be later finalized.

The cast will include an ensemble of 20 kids of all ages (but mostly short kids) with many performers from FUSE’s children’s musical theatre studio.

There is a cost. For more information on FUSE Productions: 1-866-811-4111; or visit info@fuseproductions.org

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