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Patricia Kennedy
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IU Department of Theatre and Drama presents haunting musical tragedy 'Blood Brothers'

Sept. 22, 2009

WHAT: Blood Brothers by Willy Russell under the direction of award-winning director Murray McGibbon. This play contains mature content.
WHEN: Opens Friday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Runs Oct. 10, 13-16, at 7:30 p.m; Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: All performances take place at the Ruth N. Halls Theatre, 1211 E. 7th St. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Regular admission $20, $15 for students/seniors; Student rush tickets: $12 cash with a valid IU Bloomington student ID on the day of each performance.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Department of Theatre and Drama kicks off its 2009-2010 theater season with Willy Russell's cult musical Blood Brothers, the powerful story of an unlikely friendship beset by the struggles of adolescence, the inevitable rift of the class divide in 1960's England and the cruelty of fate.

"Blood Brothers"

The play will be presented in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre under the direction of Murray McGibbon.

An international hit, Blood Brothers has played for more than 20 years in London's West End. McGibbon attributes the success to the playwright. "Willy Russell is a people's playwright," said McGibbon. "His plays strike at the heart of the common man."

Blood Brothers initially was written as a non-musical play for a school production in 1982. Russell spent the whole year revising the book, composing the lyrics and writing the score by himself to turn it into a full musical. This haunting musical is rare in that words and music, characterization and songs are given equal weight. McGibbon said he is treating the production as a "play with music."

McGibbon has previously directed Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita, two of Russell's other plays. "He tells complex stories about simple people with which we can easily identify," he said.

The language, situations and issues in the play deal with the British class system, something American audiences can relate to, said McGibbon. "The play deals with the 'haves' versus the 'have nots,'" he said, adding that the play touches on the current global economic meltdown. "The music is integral to the development of the characters and the story."

Appearing as the two Blood Brothers are junior Matt Birdsong (Oklahoma!), who plays Eddie, and Marty Allegretti (Oklahoma!, The Wild Party, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) as Mickey. Both are pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in musical theatre from the IU Department of Theatre and Drama.

In addition to McGibbon, the production team includes Musical Director Terry LaBolt (Music Director of the Musical Theatre Program), Scenic Designer Nick Passafiume (The American Play), Costume Designer Lydia Dawson (The American Play), Lighting Designer Chris Wood (Stop Kiss) and Sound Designer Andrew Hopson (Assistant Professor of Sound Design in the Department of Theatre and Drama).

For more information about the Department of Theatre and Drama, see