WHITEHALL — Given the rush indigenous to most summer theatre, touring a trio of comedies can be murder.
This summer the Central Michigan University Touring Company sounds like it is getting a bit literal about the whole thing.
CMU’s perennial summer sojourn at Howmet Playhouse this year will include 7:30 p.m. performances of a 2016 repertory that CMU is billing as “Killer Comedy.”
Different plays will be performed on consecutive nights.
The shows are “Shady Business” by Robin Howdon, on July 14; “Marriage is Murder” by Nick Hall, on July 15; and “Dearly Departed” by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, on July 16.
CMU’s touring repertory productions have become a tradition of the Howmet Playhouse’s annual Summer Theatre Festival.
“We have had wonderful experiences touring CMU Summer Theatre to the Howmet Playhouse,” said Steve Berglund, CMU’s Director of University Theater. “The theater is intimate and welcoming, and the community is always supportive.
“Every year that we come back to Howmet we are impressed by the improvements that have been made. We look forward to a long relationship with the Howmet Playhouse.”
“Dearly Departed” is set in the American South, and involves the turmoil surrounding the unexpected death of a family’s patriarch.
“Marriage is Murder” is about two ex-spouses who write murder mysteries together, acting out the crimes.
“Shady Business” is a farce that involves, among other things, mistaken identities.
Berglund said the CMU Summer Theatre program provides undergraduate students experiences both on and off stage.
“All student company members are directly involved in all areas of production,” he said, “including performance, set construction, assistant directing, lighting, props, costumes, publicity, program and poster design.”
Before the shows open, participating students undergo a 5 1/2-week rehearsal period in which rehearsals are held three times daily.
The plays first are performed in Bush Theatre on the CMU campus in Mt. Pleasant. In addition to Whitehall, the 2016 plays also are performed on Beaver Island, at Beaver Island Community Center Theatre.
“Another unique experience provided to students through Summer Theatre is the opportunity to perform productions in repertory while on tour,” Berglund said.
This year’s company includes students Allie Jackson, Anthony Jones, Zachary C. Guerra, Katie Dodd, Amy Duffy, Zach Whitt, Tyler Eavey, Will Johnson, Dani Montpetit, Claire Frances Sullivan, Emily Mick and Lainey Williams.
Tickets for individual performances are $21 for adults and $17 for students.
For reservations, visit the playhouse’s web site, http://www.howmetplayhouse.org; or the box office.
The box office of the playhouse, 304 S. Mears, is open weekdays from 1-5 p.m., and one hour before show times; call (231) 894-2540.
The playhouse is also selling season flex passes: a Full Flex Pass is $200 for 12 tickets, and a Mini Flex Pass is $100 for six tickets.
They may be purchased either at Whitehall City Hall, 405 Colby, weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon (call 231-894-4048); the box office; or on the web site.