Premiering this Saturday at Conant Performing Arts Center, “Lizzie” is a rock-and-roll reimagining of the infamous Lizzie Borden murders brought to you by Atlanta theatre company and frequent Oglethorpe University collaborator Actor’s Express. Helping to bring the modernized story to Oglethorpe’s home stage are current OU students and alumni working alongside Actor’s Express professionals.
OU students Phoebe Rushan and Catherine Long will work both front and back of house in the box office and OU alumni Justin Martin ’22 and Rae Pinheiro ’22 are part of the production team. OU alum and working actress Jessica De Maria ’11 takes a leading role on stage as Emma Borden, Lizzie’s older sister.
“Lizzie” is a rock-inspired musical that turns our understanding of a notorious killer on its head and asks the question: was Lizzie Borden a cold-blooded killer or a victim of the Victorian patriarchy? Written by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Alan Stevens Hewitt, and Tim Maner, the production is directed by Jennifer Alice Acker with music direction by Ashley Prince and choreography by Bubba Carr.
De Maria, who graduated from Oglethorpe with a degree in Theatre and a minor in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies, has been a professional actress in metro Atlanta since 2012. She has appeared on multiple stages throughout the city, including Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, The Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Theatrical Outfit and others.
Last semester, De Maria also worked with the Oglethorpe Theatre department to produce “Broadway UnPlugged,” a musical cabaret of acoustic Broadway covers that showcased the talents of OU performers.
“Every night, leaving Conant, it’s like I’m time traveling,” says De Maria, “Same sounds and smells…it’s been really incredible not only to reunite with Actor’s Express, but also with Oglethorpe. It’s been awesome to see the students I met get to work with my favorite ATL theatre through this partnership.”
Just last year, 12 Oglethorpe students were cast alongside professional actors in Actor’s Express and Oglethorpe University co-production of “Heathers: the Musical.” Other students worked backstage in almost every aspect of technical theatre work, including scenic fabrication, electrics, painting, wardrobe, following spot operators, board operation, run crew, props and stage management.
“Lizzie” opens at Conant this Saturday, July 9 and runs through July 24. Visit the Actor’s Express website for ticketing information.