University Theatre presents a ‘timeless’ production from the ’30s: ‘Stage Door’

Throughout a 90-minute performance, the Ball State Department of Theatre and Dance will portray women fighting in the 1930s for their moment in the spotlight, as they strive to carve their own path in a male-dominated profession.

With gender equality issues raging, both in the past and present, actor Will Rupert, who plays David Kingsley, said there is plenty of room for overarching themes for the audience to grab onto.

“There is a lot of talk in the show about the idea of Hollywood versus stage-acting and what is the more artistic career path,” Rupert said.

Because of this, the idea of sacrificing artistic merit for money affects several of the main characters. Striving to overcome such turbulence, “Stage Door” gives themes of self-empowerment allowing audience members to make their own connection to the show.

Although “Stage Door” handles rather sensitive and serious topics, it offers a unique touch of smart and witty humor, giving the audience a chance to think.

“It is not the kind of show where you can sit back, relax and be entertained,” actress Amanda Walker, who plays Jean Maitland, said. “It is a show worth engaging in. You are going to get so much more out of it if you dive into it with us.”

The cast was chosen last semester, so members had the entire summer to learn about the personas they would take on in the following month.

Since he is used to playing goofy, off-the-wall characters, Rupert said he was excited to take on the challenge of portraying a romantic lead in a golden age.

For Rupert, the hardest aspect of his role was figuring out how to portray his character as “someone you want to root for” because there are “moments where he is saying things that are considered sexist by today’s standards.”

As for Walker, she said she has always been drawn to period pieces and was excited to formulate her own version of her character, Jean Maitland.

“One of the first things that the script says about Jean is that she is an opportunist, but she is perceived as the Hollywood glam-girl,” Walker said. “She is far smarter than the stereotype that she is supposed to hold the place of.”

“Stage Door” took two months to perfect which allowed many relationships and bonds to form, along with “incredible chemistry among the cast.”

“[The cast] is a group of people who are all on the same page, as far as I know, about the story we are telling, and I think it is important to each of us in a unique way,” Walker said.

Sing the cast is predominantly female, Walker said “all the women in the cast have defied [the] stereotype” that an all female cast would cause mass chaos. Instead, they have been “incredible and supportive,” Walker said.

Rupert and Walker said they believe that female audience members will strongly connect to the play. Rupert also said he believes the audience will be able to compare and contrast ideas within the play to their day-to-day life.

“There are 20 girls in the show, and I think that everyone in the audience is going to find one that they can connect with,” Rupert said. “Whatever you open yourself up to understanding is what you’re going to take away from the show.”

Contact Kamryn Tomlinson with comments at


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