AU Press Releases

Performing Arts opens season with look at ‘Betty’s Summer Vacation’

“Betty’s Summer Vacation,” a play by Christopher Durang, will be presented by the Alfred University Division of Performing Arts as the first offering of the 2010-11 theater season.

Winner of four Obie Awards, including best playwriting, “Betty’s” has been called a “fierce” comedy which focuses on the tabloid-ization of American culture and is considered by many to be Durang’s best play. The play focuses on human nature’s interest in horror and gossip.

The production — for mature audiences only —opens Wednesday, Sept. 29 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 2, in the C.D. Smith III Theatre, Miller Performing Arts Center. Show times are at 8 p.m.

Cost of admission is $5 for the general public, $3 for students and senior citizens, and $1 for AU students with ID. For tickets and reservations, please call the Division of Performing Arts Ticket hotline at 607.871.2828 or order online at This event is not advisable for children.

Stephen Crosby, professor of theater at AU, is director of “Betty’s Summer Vacation.” Other members of the production team include Marketa Fantova, assistant professor of theater design, and Tyler Cummins, a senior theater major.

The cast consists of nine Alfred University students: Melanie Baker, a senior theater and English major as Betty; Brit McKinley, a freshman undeclared major as Trudy; Ned Allen, a psychology and communication studies major as Keith; Wayne Cadet, a sophomore undeclared major as Buck; Dana Harris, a freshman undeclared major as Mrs. Siezmagraff; and Justin Pietropaolo, a senior English major as Mr. Vanislaw.

Also, three of the cast members will be “voices” for the play: Javier Pritchard, Katie Barlow, and John Hamolsky, all senior theater majors.

An Equity actor, director, and writer, Crosby has worked professionally in New York, Los Angeles, and in regional theaters. In the last few years he has returned to the stage as an actor, playing the role of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” and performing and touring Alaska with the Fairbanks Shakespeare Festival. He holds a master of fine arts degree from Florida State University.

Fantova has a bachelor’s degree in scenography from DAMU Theatre Academy of Music Arts, Prague, and a master of fine arts degree in scene design from Wayne State University, Detroit.

Durang is relentlessly entertaining. His plays arouse audiences with hilarity as no subject is sacred, whether it be organized religion, homophobia, psychoanalysis, or parenthood. His imagination, inventiveness, courage and audacity infuse his work with originality which provides audiences with unruly laughter and outlandish amusement.