March 30, 2017  

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USM Musical to Tackle Today’s Social Issues in Song

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The student cast of Showbiz Harmony during rehearsal.

The University of Southern Mississippi ensemble that delighted Hattiesburg area patrons with a stirring production of Mary Poppins, will take to the stage of the Mannoni Performing Arts Center for a one-night-only performance of a Broadway musical review Showbiz Harmony on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

The special performance will include hit tunes from Fiddler on the Roof and South Pacific to Avenue Q and Kinky Boots.

“While creating a show that would be both timely and entertaining, the world seemed to be falling into an uncivilized and uncaring abyss,” said Dr. Michael Miles, the show’s music director. “Not only were we constantly bombarded by ugly political discourse, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, attacks on police officers, threats of deportation and isolationism, and discriminatory legislation, but also we witnessed the violent reactions to all of these things. The tone of the discourse and level of disregard for human life is something we had not seen in our lifetime.”

The show’s director Dr. Michael Lopinto notes that though art oftentimes mirrors life, the arts also provide a countermeasure to much of the evil in the world. He points out that the arts are what make us human and continuously remind us of the value of who and what we are.

“We felt compelled to bring to our community a performance that showcases themes of acceptance, individualism, tolerance, and inspiration,” said Lopinto. “With some fun pokes at ourselves and our imperfections as humans and with the acknowledgement that we have work to do as individuals and as a society, we hope Showbiz Harmony will move you in ways that inspire you to think about the world we live in and what each of us needs to do to ensure it is a better place for future generations.

The show is part of The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s 97th season. Tickets are available at the Southern Miss Ticket Office, 800.844.8425, 601.266.5418 or www.southernmisstickets.com.