Post Classifieds

The Show Must Go On

By Connor Schultz
On September 19, 2016

Photo By: Ashley Alonzo

The theater program at Ottawa University ceased over the summer, but that did not stop a plan put in place to continue musicals in the fall and spring for the 2016-2017 term.

This fall, a group of roughly 20 students, faculty and alumni will perform“Fiddler on the Roof” Oct. 28-30. Directing the play is university chaplain John Holzhuter, who has previous directing experience. The cast has been assigned roles and finished their first week of practice last week.

"Fiddler on the Roof" was originally written in 1964 and is experiencing a revival on Broadway, having been nominated for three Tony Awards. The production is set to close at the end of this year.

Krystal Hurr, a second-year student from Newport News, Virginia, and lead actress in the musical, heard of the news from a person within Ottawa University’s administration about the cancelation of the theater program in June while visiting her family in Colorado.

“I literally sat there in disbelief. I had this huge plan in my mind for this year. We were going to have other majors be involved in theater; we were going to expand the program and allow students to get opportunities in theater that they cannot get anywhere else,” Hurr says.

While the university website still has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater listed, the university is no longer offering the degree, citing only one student being enrolled in the program, according to university provost Terry Haines.

“This was a very difficult decision but necessary as we continue to wisely use our financial resources and support our overall academic program,” Haines says. “The university will support a continuing and active theater activity program for our community.”

Hurr is a documented member of the Ottawa Tribe and is related to one of the university’s founders. According to the school website, after successful admittance from the tribal office, the university offers full tuition, fees, and room and board to members of the Ottawa Tribe.

“When I first heard about the scholarship, me and my father were very skeptical, like there’s no way it’s this good,” Hurr says. “At the time, I thought this is so exciting, this is really possible for me to do.”

Though Hurr is involved in numerous clubs and works part-time in the admissions office, she admits this fall semester at Ottawa is her last. Hurr plans to transfer to Christopher Newport University or Virginia Commonwealth University to be closer to home and earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theater elsewhere.

“I take it a day at a time,” Hurr says. “I understand why the decision was made, it was just shocking. The plan that I had was kind of crumbled up, and now I’m back to square one. It was hard for me and still is because if I want to continue my major, I’ll have to leave my Ottawa family here and my home away from home.”

While the Bachelor’s Degree is no longer listed, Haines says that there are plans to continue offering musicals and plays in future years.

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ will start at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28-29 and will conclude with a matinee presentation at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 30.

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