Wilkes University Theatre to Stage Puffs from April 18-21

by Kelly Clisham
picture of three students in wizard robes holding wands with beams of light coming out of the end

Wilkes University Theatre invites audiences to experience the magic and take part in the laughter of their production of Puffs at 8 p.m. on April 18, 19 & 20 and 2 p.m. on April 20 & 21 at the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts.

As a parody of J.K. Rowling’s famous books, Puffs tells the story of three wizard students who go through a series of high-stakes adventures while attending magic school. With fast-paced action and frequent comedic relief, Puffs is designed to be enjoyed by both Harry Potter fanatics and those who have never read or watched the series.

Professional actor and director Paul Nelson was hired to guest direct the production. Nelson has worked professionally as an actor and director for 40 years. Highlights of his career include performing on three national tours, acting in shows across 46 states and serving as an artistic director for over three dozen professional productions.

“[Nelson] lends his depth of knowledge and experience to the production, and he also is a great mentor and role model for the theatre students,” said Jon Liebetrau, associate professor of theatre.

With fast-paced scenes and constant action, Nelson notes, “One of the most challenging aspects of directing this production of Puffs has been to keep the play moving seamlessly through many locations with no breaks in the action. Also challenging is creating a production of high-jinx and broad comedy while providing the audience with the opportunity to share in the tender, heartfelt moments so crucial to the intent of the message in the play.”

The Puffs cast features Anthony Kehs (Wyane Hopkins), Isaiah Brown (Oliver Rivers), Raven Whitefawn (Megan Jones) and Sarah Pugliese (narrator). Other cast members include Kaiden Harris, Caleb Flannery, Evan Cole, Jesse Lawson, Jahel Duran-Diaz, Olivia Scarborough, Charley Cain, Madelyn Rex, Isabella Mendez, Isabella Ruiz, Cally Williams, Ella Villani, Elena DiSciullo and Mya Banegas.

In addition to Nelson as director, production staff includes Noah Dixon (production stage manager), Ryan Starr (assistant stage manager) and Madeline Meier (assistant stage manager).

“As the audience leaves the theatre, I would like them to retain a feeling of hope in friendship, joy in living and a lust for laughter through it all!” said Nelson.

Tickets are available online at wilkes.edu/theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for students/senior citizens and free with ID for Wilkes students, faculty and staff. The box office will open one hour before curtain for purchases in person. Questions? Call 570-408-4540.

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