British comedy is next offering in Fredonia Theatre Series

Submitted Photo Trixie Martin (Angela Wheeler) shares a moment with Daisy Meredith (Julia Black) in the Department of Theatre and Dance production of “Daisy Pulls It Off,” which runs from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25 and March 1, 2 and 3 in Bartlett Theatre at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

A British comedy originally produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber is the next offering in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The Fredonia Department of Theatre and Dance will present six performances of “Daisy Pulls It Off” from Feb. 23 to March 3 in Bartlett Theatre on the Fredonia Campus. Dates and performance times are Feb. 23, 24 and March 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

Theatre and Dance faculty member Dr. James Ivey will direct the Mainstage production. He most recently directed the Department’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” last October.

“‘Daisy Pulls It Off’ is set in a British girls’ school where a plucky and daring young girl faces snobbery and discrimination in a compelling comedy mystery that is not only funny but heart-warming,” Ivey said.

The main character is Daisy Meredith, a new student and the first to attend the Grangewood School for Girls on a scholarship. The privileged students are determined to make Daisy look bad in the eyes of the administration. Meanwhile, the school is facing its own problems – financial ones. Daisy works to win over her fellow students and save the school.

A comedy by Denise Deegan, an English novelist and playwright, “Daisy Pulls It Off” is described as “a parody of wholesome adventure stories about life in a girls’ English boarding school.”

The original 1983 production ran for 1,180 performances at the Globe Theatre in London. Andrew Lloyd Webber produced both the original production and a 2002 revival. The original production won a Laurence Olivier Award and the Drama Theatre Award for Best Comedy.

“The play is being presented as straightforward a production as possible,” Ivey said. “Some of the terminology used in the play might be foreign to us. I was told long ago that the British and the Americans are people separated by a common language. The actors will be paying extra attention to the text to make sure that we understand every word they say. Our job is to take great care with the spoken word.”

The Mainstage production has 21 students in the cast and another 25 students in the crew and on the production staff. Ivey said the highlights include the scenery designed by Czerton Lim, faculty scenic designer for the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“The British school environment that he has created will be a delight to encounter in the Bartlett Theatre,” Ivey said. “The large cast of young women and two men will certainly display the depth of talent in our theater program.”

The director said the production is appropriate for younger theatergoers and adults alike.

“Audiences should enjoy the comic elements of the play and come away with an affirmation that honesty and integrity will always triumph,” Ivey said. ” ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’ is a sweet story somewhat in the vein of the Nancy Drew stories found in America. This is a play for young girls and mothers to experience together as well as adults who enjoy a trip to Britain.”

“Daisy Pulls It Off” is sponsored by the SUNY Fredonia Federal Credit Union as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season. Tickets are available through the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center and by phone at 673-3501 (toll free at 1-866-441-4928).