CPS Presents Of Mice and Men National Players Production May 4


Michael Pettey as George and Mat Leonard as Lennie in the National Players production of “Of Mice and Men” (Photo credit: Madeleine Russell).

Community Performance Series is excited to bring back the National Players, America’s longest running classical touring company, for their production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”

As part of the Meet the Arts Series, CPS will host two performances on Friday, May 4 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, with shows offered at 9 a.m. and noon. The 9 a.m. performance is sold out, but tickets are still available for the public for the noon performance.

Directed by Jason King Jones, the National Players production “Of Mice and Men” is a stage adaptation of the classic tale by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. This tragic and endearing story follows the mismatched friendship of two displaced migrant ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, in California during the Great Depression. While George dreams big, Lennie seeks the comfort of little everyday pleasures. As George’s dreams become reachable, his compassion is tested through Lennie’s mistakes, posing the question: What makes true friends and what makes true men?

Students from several local communities will be attending the performances, including pupils from Norwood-Norfolk Central School, Canton Central School, St. Lawrence Central School, Heuvelton Central School, St. Regis Falls Central School, Brushton-Moira Central School, Northern Adirondack High School, Newcomb Central School and St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Northwest Technical Center.

The 9 a.m. audience will be comprised of students and teachers from schools involved in the education pilot program created by CPS and funded in part by an Art$TART grant through the New York State Council on the Arts Local Capacity Building Program. This education pilot program included teacher development, study guide materials, in-class lessons, in-school workshop and post-show discussion opportunities with actors from the National Players, as well as a culminating arts project, all in conjunction with the “Of Mice and Men” performances.

“It’s so exciting to see this program come to fruition!” said CPS Education Outreach Coordinator Anna Marie Wilharm. “We’ve been planning the activities since last July and the big day is finally here. Many students will have just finished reading the novel, and the performance gives them an opportunity to see the characters and story come to life onstage.”

Now celebrating its 63rd anniversary season, National Players has earned a distinctive place in American theatre by bringing innovative and accessible productions to audiences across the country. Performed with high-voltage energy, clarity and wit, National Players introduces audiences to great works of dramatic literature that are rich in exciting stories and characters, and profound in language and themes. Their productions touch hearts and minds, inspire imagination and wonder, spark curiosity about the self, the world and the creative process, and celebrate what it means to be human. CPS has previously presented several productions by the National Players, including “Lord of the Flies,” “1984” and “Twelfth Night.”

Tickets are still available to the public for the noon performance and cost $5 for youth and $10 for adults. The performance runs 90 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for students in sixth grade or higher. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the CPS Box Office, located in the lobby of Snell Theater on the SUNY Potsdam campus or at Northern Music & Video in downtown Potsdam. You can also reserve tickets by calling (315) 267-2277 or visiting www.cpspotsdam.org.

The CPS presentations of “Of Mice and Men” are made possible through generous underwriting from the Edward John Noble Foundation, with additional support from the Maresca Family Endowment, the Stearns-Cottrell Endowment, Stewart’s Shops, the Sweetgrass Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts Local Capacity Building Program, which is administered in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.

Established in 1989, CPS at SUNY Potsdam is a college-community partnership presenting world-class performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. A rich mixture of programs links community, classroom and audiences of all ages while preserving access to the performing arts for future generations.

For more information about the CPS Meet the Arts Series, visit www.cpspotsdam.org.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of only three arts campuses in the entire SUNY system. SUNY Potsdam’s arts curriculum offers the full palette: music, theatre, dance, fine arts and creative writing. No matter the discipline, people from all backgrounds can find their creative compass at Potsdam, with myriad arts immersion experiences available for both campus and community.