Indiana State University Newsroom

Hair-raising season planned for summer’s Crossroads Rep

March 13, 2018

Crossroads Repertory Theatre is set to make the move to the Dreiser Theater for their biggest musical to date -- "Hairspray." This year's season is defined by big-name productions and also includes "Steel Magnolias" and "War of the Worlds."

"Hairspray" is a musical about Tracy Turnblad, a teenager who aspires to be on a Baltimore TV dance program in the early 1960s. However, plus-sized Tracy is not anyone's idea of the show's typical act.

Based on John Water's 1988 film "Hairspray," the play focuses on a girl who is coming of age at time when the whole country is on the cusp of change.

"There are lots of funny moments, and it's a pretty uplifting musical," said David Marcia, Crossroads marketing director and dramaturge. "In the early '60s, consciousness about the civil rights movement moved out of the black community and into the country as a whole -- that ‘wokeness' is a big part of Tracy becoming an adult."

"Steel Magnolias" is a comedy-drama with an all-female cast about the bonds between a group of women who gather in a beauty parlor in rural Louisiana.

"It's a play where men and women can come and see into each other's lives," Marcia said. "Similar to ‘Hairspray,' it's a very funny play with some serious aspects to it."

"War of the Worlds" is a radio play within a radio play, a thrilling homage to the form's golden age and timely reminder of what fear can do to a society.

"The real war in the play is the one between the established print media and the newer technology of radio," Marcia said. "Newspapers wanted to portray radio as being too spontaneous, too fast and dangerous for serious news; radio wanted to exploit that speed, as well as the intimacy of being a voice or voices actually present in millions of homes."

In years past, Crossroads has had a theme to tie their plays together, but this year they are taking a new approach. The theme is going to be the theater itself.

"This is the season at the Dreiser," Marcia said. "Sometimes themes can be counterproductive, you're almost telling people what they should be feeling before they walk into the play. We are focused on the idea of being in the Dreiser, this exciting new space with a larger audience and different technical capabilities."

Crossroads has been at Indiana State's campus for more than 50 years and has called New Theater their home in the modern era. It is unavailable this summer as the space undergoes renovations.

"It's going to be a very different experience for our established patrons and an interesting experience for the new patrons we hope to develop," Marcia said.

Crossroads is brought to the public's eye in the summer, but it is indeed a year-round operation.

"You're winding up one season or going into the next at all times," said Marcia. "We want to link the professional summer season with the academic season so there is a consistent communication between us to the community. Without an audience in the seats, it's just rehearsal."

Dates and tickets sales for the upcoming CRT season are expected to be available in May. For more information, go to


Media contact: David Marcia, instructor, department of theater, Indiana State University,

Writer: Antonio Turner, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, or 812-237-3773