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09/18/2015

New Theatre and Dance Production Jeffrey Starts an Important Conversation

Quick Facts

 Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 3 and 2 p.m. Oct. 4.
 Tickets are $5 with a Winthrop ID for the Sept. 30-Oct. 1 shows and $8 Oct. 2-4. Tickets for the general public are $8 and $15 for those dates, respectively.

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Crumpton, left, Williams, right
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — When Winthrop University’s Department of Theatre and Dance held auditions for “Jeffrey,” the opening production of its 2015-16 season, biology major Andrew Williams wasn’t necessarily planning to try out.

But one friendly suggestion, one cold read and one callback later, he landed not only a role, but the title role of Jeffrey.

“I was very excited when I found out because it’s the first time that I’ve done something really big here,” said Williams, an Illinois resident who has previously participated in the one-act play festivals. “[Theatre] is something I’ve been doing for fun. Everyone has an artsy side, and this is how I express mine.”

Everyone can see the talented cast express their artistic sides when “Jeffrey” opens Sept. 30 in Johnson Studio Theatre. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 3 and 2 p.m. Oct. 4.

“Jeffrey” follows the story of the title character and his search for love and physical gratification. Just as he’s decided to give celibacy a try, Jeffrey meets the man of his dreams, Steve (Casey Crumpton, Greenville, South Carolina). Steve is HIV-positive. This revelation leads to a story where happiness and humor thrive even as tragedy waits around the corner.

Director Zeke Jones, of Lexington, South Carolina, pulled everyone together on the first night to talk over the mature content, Williams said.

“There are so many discussions in this show,” Williams said. “The gay population, HIV, the transsexual community and just being who you are. We want to tell people, ‘It’s OK to be who you are.’”

Williams has balanced the “Jeffrey” production schedule with his schoolwork and extracurricular activities, like his multiple honor societies and his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, but he knows it will be worth it. His family is expected to travel from Illinois to see the play.

Tickets are $5 with a Winthrop ID and $10 for the public Sept. 30-Oct. 1. For Oct. 2-4, tickets are $8 with a Winthrop ID and $15 for the public. They can be purchased at the Box Office or online.

For more information on the Department of Theatre and Dance, call 803/323-2287. For more information, contact Nicole Chisari at smithne@winthrop.edu.

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