SIUE Summer Theater Festival opens this weekend

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s students performing in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” include: (front row L-R) Summer Baer (banjo) and Lisa Hinrichs (guitar). (Back row L-R): Sara Naumann (cello), Ashley Bauman (ukulele), Sarah Lantsberger (fiddle) and David Zimmerman (washboard). (Photo courtesy of SIUE)

Two entertaining productions, one a beloved classic and the other a hit musical, will thrill audiences during Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s 2019 Summer Theater Festival, opening Friday, June 21.

Formerly Summer Showbiz, the Festival’s two plays will span the ages from Elizabethan, with William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” to a small, modern Greek island paradise with Catherine Johnson’s “Mamma Mia!”

“As You Like It” will be on stage in the Metcalf Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 21-22; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 28-29; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 30.

Ellie Schwetye, managing editor and co-producer of the Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, who is no stranger to Shakespeare, will direct “As You Like It.”

In one of Shakespeare’s most loved comedies, Rosalind flees her uncle’s court to escape persecution. Accompanied by her cousin, Celia, she finds safety, and eventually, love in the Forest of Arden.

While in the forest, they encounter a diverse set of memorable characters, most notably the melancholy Jaques, who speaks many of the most recognizable lines from Shakespeare’s plays: “All the world’s a stage.”  “Too much of a good thing.” “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man doth know himself to be a fool.”

“Mamma Mia!,” with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, some songs with Stig Anderson, book by Catherine Johnson, and originally conceived by Judy Craymer, will be in the plush Katherine Dunham Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 12-13; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 19-20; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

“Mamma Mia!” has already amused and warmed the hearts of more than 60 million fans worldwide. It is directed by Kate Slovinski, assistant faculty instructor in the Department of Theater and Dance (DOTD) and is supported by musical direction from Marc Schapman, associate professor in the Department of Music. Slovinski and Schapman, both veterans of Summer Showbiz musicals, unfold this hilarious, heart-warming story and transport us to a Greek island, where romantic magic awaits.

“Mamma Mia!” is the ultimate feel-good show with hits by the Swedish rock group, ABBA, and tells the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father, brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

“The breadth and wealth of talent that will grace the two stages at the performing festival is reflective of the continued partnership between SIUE and the regional St. Louis community,” said Kim Bozark, head of marketing and promotions for the DOTD.

All tickets are general admission and are on now on sale at $15 for adults (18 and older), $12 for seniors (65 and up), $12 for SIUE faculty, staff and non-SIUE students with valid school ID, and free admission for SIUE students with a valid summer ID.

To purchase tickets, visit the Theater and Dance Department box office located inside Katherine Dunham Hall, room 1042b or charge by calling (618) 650-2774 or (888) 328-5168, extension 2774.

For more information, contact For directions and parking, please visit the SIUE website at siue.edumaps.