Comedy classic “Blithe Spirit” kicks off theater season 

Comedy classic “Blithe Spirit” kicks off theater season 

09/26/2023 

Want a little fun and fright this October? Prefer a bit of poltergeist in your plays? Then SUNY Cortland’s Performing Arts Department has you covered with its first show of the semester, “Blithe Spirit,” at the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre. 

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, with a final matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8. Tickets are available at SUNY Cortland’s online Ticket Office. Discounted prices are offered to students, faculty, staff and senior citizens. Ages 13 and above will enjoy the show the most. 

Written by the late playwright Noël Coward, “Blithe Spirit” is a comedy that has kept audiences laughing for more than 70 years. First performed in 1941, it’s been revived on Broadway, London’s West End and for a 2014-15 national tour.  

The show tells a tale of spirits, seances and the novelist caught in the middle. In other words, it’s a hauntingly perfect performance for Halloween season. It’s also a favorite of director Kevin Halpin, professor in the Performing Arts Department, who first saw it while in high school. He noted this is the first time since he started teaching at Cortland in 1999 that a full-fledged farce has been performed at the university. 

“It’s a very, incredibly funny, funny play,” said Halpin. “Its premise is ridiculous at its core in a wonderful way, and the way that Noël Coward writes witty, sharp dialogue where people fire off at each other is very similar to the work of someone contemporary like Aaron Sorkin.” 

Blithe-Poster.jpg
Blithe Spirit takes to the SUNY Cortland stage on Thursday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 8.

A farce, Halpin said, is all about exuberance, with an overflow of physical comedy, speed, surprises and energy from the actors. Just as important is that the characters in the play must show they believe in what they’re doing, however off the wall it seems to an audience.  

Coward and “Blithe Spirit” represents a change of pace that is, Halpin believes, a perfect fit and challenge for the students. It lets them practice a different style of acting than other recent shows at SUNY Cortland like “Cabaret” or “Company” and it offers multiple quality roles for women. 

So far, the students involved are enjoying the chance to explore a sillier side of theater. 

“It’s been a great experience,” Halpin said. “The cast has jumped in with both feet with an incredible amount of energy and creativity. We’ve been laughing a lot in rehearsals, so hopefully audiences will too.” 

After the curtain falls on “Blithe Spirit,” expect to see more on stage at SUNY Cortland this fall and next year. Scheduled shows are: 

"Love, Billy," a new play in workshop and a co-production between SUNY Cortland Performing Arts and Cortland Repertory Theatre, by Mark Reynolds and Crystal Lyon, from Nov. 2-5 at Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown. 

"The Last Five Years," a musical by Jason Robert Brown, spring semester dates TBD, in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre. 

"Sweet Charity," a play by Neil Simon with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields from April 5-7 and 12-14 in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre. 


More News

CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

CICC chooses “Air” as 2024-25 academic theme

Organizers seek ideas from the campus community for the coming year’s lectures and activities.


Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Tribute to a groundbreaking educator

Marjorie Dey Carter '50 quietly blazed a trail in American urban education.


SUNY Cortland Athletics Program wins SUNYAC Commissioner’s Cup

SUNY Cortland Athletics Program wins SUNYAC Commissioner’s Cup

Red Dragons capture the top spot for 18th time.


Non-Traditional students inducted into honorary 

Non-Traditional students inducted into honorary 

The international honor society recognizes the academic achievements of undergraduate students over the age of 24.   


Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

Women’s lacrosse earns SUNYAC championship title 

The Red Dragons, under third-year head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne, made their 26th NCAA tournament appearance.


Harry Campbell Named SUNY Cortland head athletic trainer

Harry Campbell Named SUNY Cortland head athletic trainer

Campbell has been employed as an athletic trainer at the University of Rochester since August of 2015.


SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

SUNY Cortland is new host for New York State Envirothon  

The annual science contest will bring hundreds of high-achieving high schoolers from around the state to campus. 


National education leader to receive honorary degree

National education leader to receive honorary degree

Ernie Logan ’73, who represented public education administrators across the United States, will receive an honorary degree at SUNY Cortland.


New garden celebrates Indigenous crops and culture

New garden celebrates Indigenous crops and culture

The Three Sisters farming method is introduced to SUNY Cortland’s Model Garden.


Taking care of yourself during finals week

Taking care of yourself during finals week

President Erik J. Bitterbaum shares a note of encouragement with students during finals week.