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Theatre Company's Original Musical "Frankly" Opens at Moravian

Writer and director, Alanah Cervantes '12, delivers a lighthearted look at doom

Alanah CervantesBethlehem, Pa., January 27, 2012--What could be worse than learning the world is about to end? Maybe waking up one day and realizing that your life is all about something that's not really all that important ... that something is missing and you don't know what to do to create a meaningful existence. For Frank Liston, a young, successful salesman, all this happens in one fateful day in the original musical, Frankly. The original musical opens Thursday, February 2 at 8 p.m. in the Arena Theatre at Moravian College. Additional performances will be February 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and February 5 at 2 p.m.

The show's protagonist has all the material possessions one could want, but realizes on the day his secretary leaves for Vegas and his ex-girlfriend informs him he is about to become a father, that "stuff" does not make the world go 'round. In fact, pretty soon the world will stop rotating on its axis, since the President of the United States has just announced that the world is coming to an end. What a day!

The premise sounds intense, yet the play's writer and director, Alanah Cervantes '12, promises some lighthearted moments as Frank comes to terms with the fact that he will never hold his unborn child, in addition to all kinds of events that will never take place.

"The end of the world isn't the point," says Cervantes, who intentionally leaves the manner of the world's demise unstated. "It's an important device, but it's really about deciding what really matters in life. It's about people realizing that relationships with others are what are most important and realizing they don't have to die alone."

Love is more important than life; live without regret; plans don't always go the way you want; and you can't always have a perfect ending--all are critical elements of Cervantes' first musical.

She cites the gradual shedding of "stuff" throughout the show as a main theme, as both props and characters drop away, until Frank and his pregnant girlfriend, Marissa, are left alone, and Frank realizes that dying doesn't mean losing.

Always fascinated with society's obsession with Armageddon, Cervantes set out to discover why the end-of-the-world scenario populates all forms of entertainment. She concluded that humans, when faced with the end of existence, can use that as a reason for pursuing their passions; but wouldn't it be so much better to follow the heart for no reason other than because it's the right thing to do?

Frank is played by Kyle Goodbred '12, who Cervantes had in mind when she wrote the character. Samantha Beard '12, plays Marissa. Christopher Shorr, Moravian's director of theatre, and James P. Jordan, artistic director at Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem's professional theatre, co-designed the show.

Cervantes is grateful for the help of Alexa Borden '13, (among others) who orchestrated the music for ten instruments, after Cervantes tried her hand at writing the tunes in addition to the lyrics. "She was my savior," Cervantes says. "She understands my vision and what I want to communicate."

Shorr, who also is Cervantes' advisor, says that directing an original musical "is not for the weak-hearted. With this production, Alanah has managed to do it all. And she did it all while maintaining her 3.8 GPA. Not too shabby!"

Cervantes admits she is excited, terrified and tired, which is understandable, since she not only wrote the play and the music and is directing the production, but she also has been doing publicity for the show. And yet, she says her happiest realization has been that she "does not have to do it all alone. As someone who is very independent, this has been wonderful."

Frankly opens Thursday, February 2 at 8 p.m. in the Arena Theatre in the HUB. Additional performances will be February 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and February 5 at 2 p.m. A discussion between the audience and cast follows Friday's performance. Information and tickets are available at 610-861-1489, online or at the door, if still available.

Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Anyone who anticipates needing any type accommodation or who has questions about the physical access provided should contact Kathi Roman at Katro@moravian.edu or 610 625-7880.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College's web site at www.moravian.edu.