TROY students to present artist-in-residence's production "The Odyssey Project" Nov. 17

Posted: Tuesday, 15 November 2011

TROY - Troy University's Department of Theatre and Dance will debut its original production of "The Odyssey Project" Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

The project, conceived, written and composed by University alumnus and artist-in-residence Tommy Newman, is based on the character of Odysseus were he living in contemporary times.

"It is a contemporary telling of a man going through the journey of the 'Odyssey' in a dream state," Newman said. "He is trying to get out of a coma and return to his family who is coming to grips with dramatic terms of where they are in their lives."

Newman, originally from Hawkinsville, Ga., completed his degree at TROY in 2003 with a bachelor's in music education and a minor in business administration. During his sophomore year at the University, Newman was involved with a theater production of the "A Chorus Line," where he was "bit by the bug."

From that point on, Newman knew his calling was to compose music specifically for the theater. After completing his Master of Fine Arts in musical theater writing from New York University, Newman has produced original scores for several regional and national musicals and films, and he is currently the lyricist and book writer for several musicals, including "Band Geeks," which will be performed at Troy University in the spring.

For Newman, the production of "The Odyssey Project" holds particular personal significance.

"The show is special to me right now because I'm going through a lot of stuff in life, and it's great to have an outlet to write about it," Newman said. "I'm really excited to see where it goes."

The project will combine the talents of students all across the College of Communication of Fine Arts, from theater to dance to music. Graphic design students also provided artwork for the project.

There will only be one performance of "The Odyssey Project" at 7:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theatre, but Newman said the hope is to do a larger musical rendition of the project next fall.

"On Nov. 17 we are reading it to see how it works. It will be the first time we hear all the elements come together, and we can make sure we are telling the story in the best possible way," Newman said.

As the artist in residence this semester, Newman has spent time working with "Smokey Joe's Café," performed in September, meeting and working with students and, of course, producing "The Odyssey Project."

The production is open to the public for $5 general admission fee and free to students with their TROY IDs.