Cedarville University to present inspiring drama ‘Silent Sky’

Lauren Gunderson’s 2015 drama “Silent Sky” is based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. CONTRIBUTED
Lauren Gunderson’s 2015 drama “Silent Sky” is based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Lauren Gunderson’s 2015 drama “Silent Sky,” based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, will be presented by Cedarville University Thursday, April 8 through Sunday, April 18 in the DeVries Theatre of the Stevens Student Center.

When Henrietta receives a job at the Harvard Observatory, she assumes she was hired to be an astronomer, but is actually part of a group of female “computers” who chart the stars for the male astronomers. Along the way, she must choose between her commitment to science, her family or the possibility of romance. Other characters in Henrietta’s orbit include her sister, Margaret, two women working alongside her in the observatory, Williamina and Annie, and Peter, Henrietta’s potential love interest.

“We see science versus faith shown throughout this production, and we find out that they aren’t at odds,” said Stacey Stratton, assistant professor of theater. “Science really cannot exist without faith, and this is something that Henrietta discovers over the course of the play.”

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The cast includes Ava Ramsey as Henrietta, Haven Sidell as Margaret, Sara Warnshuis as Williamina, Courtney Collinsworth as Annie and Caleb Stechschulte as Peter. Understudies are Rachel Richardson as Annie and Hannah Bradley as Margaret. Collinsworth in particular is a Muse Machine alumna whose credits include Tanya in “Mamma Mia!” and Daniela in “In the Heights.”

“This production is funny and poignant in places, and it has a message that believers have been proclaiming for years; God is the author of science and when you see his creation through the lens of knowing who he is, it is beautiful,” said Stratton.

Also, in keeping with Cedarville’s “Caring Well. Staying Well.” guidelines, attendance will be capped at 130 for each performance, with social distancing and masks required.

Performances are April 8, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.; April 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.; and April 18 at 3 p.m. For tickets or more information, call DeVries Theatre Ticketing at 937-766-7787 or visit cedarville.edu. Cedarville University is located at 251 N. Main St., Cedarville.

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance offers free online educational materials

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) is offering a full suite of free online educational materials called Arts Explorer Streams.

Created with students in mind, the DPAA Arts Explorer Streams contains performances, interviews, lesson plans, activity ideas and more to support educators as they build an appreciation of the arts for their students.

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“We are so grateful to our donors who helped us give free ballet, opera and philharmonic performances and lesson plans to all educators,” said Ruth Reveal, DPAA’s director of education. “Even while we can’t offer our in-person education programming, we felt it was imperative to create digital programming that introduces students to the arts and gives educators as many resources as possible. Our teachers and parents have given so much of themselves this school year; we wanted to give this to them.”

Arts Explorer Streams offers four areas of concentration for educators to create lessons plans, specifically the areas of ballet, Ooa, philharmonic, or the comprehensive ArtsConnect Program.

“One of the best aspects about the DPAA’s education programs is when the artists from the Ballet, Opera and Philharmonic appear in person and bring the arts alive,” said Carleen Suttman, DPAA Board of Directors Trustee. “Now, with Arts Explorer, all students can have access to these programs that bring the arts up close and personal. This engaging content will delight students, give teachers access to professional quality productions, and provide creative, stimulating lesson plans and materials.”

ArtsConnect is a program aimed at connecting the arts to what students are learning in the classroom. It will contain five lessons, where students will meet three DPAA teaching artists: a ballet dancer, an opera singer and a violinist. These artists will use the story of “Hansel and Gretel” to teach students about storytelling in literature and the performing arts.

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Ballet Streams offers six separate virtual performances by Dayton Ballet, each no more than 20 minutes in length. Each performance comes with a lesson plan for educators to use with their students in order to extend the learning into the classroom, either virtually or in-person. Ballet Streams include performance from Dayton Ballet entitled Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” and Copland’s “The Red Pony” among others.

Opera Streams offers two virtual performances by Dayton Opera, each no more than 45 minutes in length. Each performance comes with a lesson plan for educators to use with their students in order to extend the learning into the classroom, either virtually or in-person. Opera Streams is targeted for students in middle and high school. Dayton Opera Streams includes performances from Dayton Opera entitled “A Cinderella Trilogy” and “Postcards from Dayton.”

Philharmonic Streams offers four separate virtual performances by Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, each no more than 45 minutes in length. Each performance comes with a lesson plan for educators to use with their students in order to extend the learning into the classroom, either virtually or in-person. Philharmonic Streams vary in targeted grade-level but all performances can be enjoyed by all ages. Philharmonic Streams include performances from Dayton Philharmonic entitled “Who is the Brass Family?,” “American Vignettes” and “Science of String Sound.”

To learn more or to register, visit daytonperformingarts.org/arts-explorer/.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

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