Penn State Centre Stage's 'Men on Boats' explores nontraditional casting

April 09, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jaclyn Backhaus' "Men on Boats" will be presented April 16–20 at the Penn State Downtown Theatre. The show is a rollicking adventure tale brought thrillingly to life by a cast of diverse performers, who use carefully exaggerated theatrics to tell the story of an actual 1869 expedition led by John Wesley Powell to chart the Colorado River.

"The characters in 'Men on Boats' were historically cisgender white males," said Backhaus of the production. "The cast should be made up entirely of people who are not.”

Comical but never camp, pointed but never political, this rousing historical saga is a provocative meditation on gender and historical memory that offers a new lens through which to view our shared past.

Director J. Austin Eyer added, "'Men on Boats' is not meant to be a factual representation of 10 men on the Colorado River in 1869. It sets out to do what live theatre does best — tell a story here and now."

"Men on Boats" is part of the Penn State Centre Stage Off-Centre season. All shows are general admission and begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.50.

Tickets are available at the Penn State Downtown Ticket Center, Eisenhower Box Office, Bryce Jordan Center, or by calling 814-863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX.

Penn State Centre Stage is the professional arm of the Penn State School of Theatre and serves as a training program for emerging theater professionals. Each production is created from conception to completion at Penn State using skills mastered and taught by its acclaimed theater faculty.

Last Updated April 12, 2019