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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Fond du Lac campus’ theater department celebrates its 50th anniversary season with a March 12-17 production of Silent Sky.

For five decades, the theater department has impacted students and audiences in the region with its mission to “challenge the intellect and enlighten the spirit.”

“Since we serve mainly first- and second-year undergraduates, students on our campus do not have to wait until their junior or senior year to be cast in a major role or take on leadership positions in the theater department,” said professor and Silent Sky director Richard Gustin.

“That’s a real advantage for our students. They enter the job market having developed and honed their communication and leadership skills. Those skills make them more valuable to prospective employers as well as to the community.”

Silent Sky, written by Lauren Gunderson, is the powerful and moving story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. When Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories.

This true love story explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them.

Cast members are Hannah Holzmann (Fond du Lac/chemistry), Elizabeth Knoblett (Georgetown, Texas), Brittany Smith (Madison/elementary education), Korrynn Lefeber (Fond du Lac/music therapy) and Marty Ryan (Fond du Lac/education) with understudies Sara Edgren (Waupaca/English), Carissa Tank (Orlando, Florida/medicine), Cierra Glaeser (Fairbanks, Alaska/economics and finance), Shannon Roemer (San Francisco, California/human services), Ellis Baumgart (Tampa, Florida/graphic design) and Angel De La Cruz (Beaver Dam/undecided).

Gustin and a number of other Fond du Lac campus professors and instructors are involved in an interdisciplinary project connected to the production.

Their students will study the play from a variety of disciplines—astronomy to gender and women’s studies—and then come together for a large group discussion at 12 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the University Center Commons. The public is invited.

Show times for Silent Sky are Tuesday through Saturday, March 12-17 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Prairie Theater, 400 University Drive, Fond du Lac. Purchase tickets at the Fond du Lac campus business office, by calling (920) 929-1111 or at the door. Admission is $12, students are $6.

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