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MAPA to stage Thornton Wilder’s ‘Theophilus North’

By Staff | Mar 31, 2011

Hillary (Steve Hatcher) and Diana (Leighanna Locke) are planning to elope when they meet Theophilus North (Eric Peterson) on the ferry in MAPA’s production of “Theophilus North” at Steppingstone Playhouse. Photo by David Hessemer.

WAILUKU — Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) will present the Hawaii premiere of “Theophilus North” at Steppingstone Playhouse on April 1-17.

This quirky and compelling play written by Matthew Burnett is based on Thornton Wilder’s novel of the same name.

It is the spring of 1926. A bright young man with lofty ambitions named Theophilus North decides to embark on a quest for fun and adventure, but he doesn’t get very far.

His Model T breaks down in elegant Newport, Rhode Island. Working odd jobs for the wealthy, he inadvertently changes the lives of everyone he meets and ends up a changed man himself.

In addition to producing popular musicals like last summer’s “South Pacific,” MAPA is also committed to bringing lesser-known works to Maui audiences in pursuit of its mission of “enriching individuals, building community and connecting our world through the performing arts.”

Once he read the script for “Theophilus North,” Executive and Artistic Director David C. Johnston knew producing this play was a risk worth taking.

“It’s a play you don’t know about people you do. There’s a delicacy to this piece that’s beautiful and infectious. It speaks to us,” he said.

An enchanting cousin of “Our Town” with its poignant, wry humor, “Theophilus North” celebrates the optimism of the American spirit.

MAPA’s production is directed by Johnston with set design by Caro Walker, costume design by Kathleen Schulz and lighting design by Mark Collmer.

Eric Peterson stars as Theophilus North. Some of Maui’s most experienced actors join a couple of relative newcomers to the Maui stage to form the ensemble: Mark Collmer, Steve Hatcher, Leighanna Locke, Michael Pulliam, Kristi Scott, Jackie Shea, Daniel Welsh and Carolyn Wright.

Theophilus North plays April 1-17 at Steppingstone Playhouse. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available online at www.mauiacademy.org, by phone at 244-8760 or in person at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center’s Customer Service Kiosk. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.