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'Pirates of Penzance' concludes Theatre MSU's 50th season

 

Mississippi State University Professor Emeritus Wayne Durst and his wife and longtime MSU faculty member Betty “Jo” Durst will be honored following Theatre MSU’s April 24 opening night performance of “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Mississippi State University Professor Emeritus Wayne Durst and his wife and longtime MSU faculty member Betty “Jo” Durst will be honored following Theatre MSU’s April 24 opening night performance of “The Pirates of Penzance.” Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

Dispatch Staff Report

 

The final production of the 50th theatrical season of Mississippi State's communication department will open April 24. Two longtime MSU communication department faculty members will be honored on the same night. 

 

Theatre MSU presents "The Pirates of Penzance," Gilbert and Sullivan's popular comic opera on the McComas Hall mainstage on campus for three nights April 24-26, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or online at comm.msstate.edu/theatre/tickets. 

 

Cody Stockstill, a visiting assistant professor in the department, directs the two-act musical in another collaboration between Theatre MSU and the music department. An irreverent farce that debuted in 1879 at New York's Fifth Avenue Theatre, "Pirates" involves a cast of characters morally bound to the ridiculous dictates of honor and duty. 

 

"Come celebrate with the pirates, the major general and his lovely daughters as we bring our 50th season to a close," said Stockstill, in issuing a personal invitation to residents of the Golden Triangle community and beyond.  

 

At a reception following the opening night performance, Professor Emeritus Wayne Durst will be honored with a portrait unveiling in the McComas Hall lobby. His wife, Betty "Jo" Durst, a university instructor concluding 34 years of service, also will be honored with a retirement reception at the same location. 

 

Wayne Durst retired last year after 37 years as theater area coordinator, technical director responsible for scenery and lighting of productions and related responsibilities. In appreciation, the department's Theatre MSU program will unveil his portrait to be hung permanently in the building's lobby.  

 

Over her more than three decades at MSU, Jo Durst has directed countless department-sponsored plays, in addition to her teaching and advising responsibilities.  

 

John Forde, head of the communication department, said the Dursts have made many significant contributions over the last few decades of service to the university. 

 

"It is very appropriate for them to be recognized and for his portrait to hang in the lobby along with (founding theater director) Dominic Cunetto's portrait, especially because they worked for so long together," Forde said. 

 

For more information, contact Melanie Harris at 662-325-9162 or mharris@comm.msstate.edu.

 

 

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