Fine Arts Preview

Jess Cox
The cast of “Gold Diggers” poses in full dress. They will perform the play starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. (Courtesy of the School of Music)

University alum and Phi Gamma Delta brother Avery Hopwood began his career in the early 1900s with the support of his frat brothers, who were known to march down theater aisles clapping and chanting his name to attract attention from the press. Hopefully he won’t need such an overture to captivate audiences Feb. 9 through 12 when the Department of Theatre & Drama puts on Hopwood’s “The Gold Diggers” at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.

Hopwood’s vision for the University led to the establishment of the prestigious Hopwood awards, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. Hopwood went on to be immensely popular and prolific, and is still the only playwright in history to have four shows on Broadway simultaneously.

His play “Gold Diggers” follows Jerry, a 1920s chorus girl who never fails to attract attention and envy with her ability to woo the wealthiest men without lifting a finger. Violet, her friend and housemate, is the only chorus girl who believes love conquers all – even money.

Violet wants to marry the well bred but awkward Wally, whose uncle is convinced that chorus girls only chase after rich men for their money. The timid couple needs Jerry’s help to persuade Wally’s uncle, Steven Lee, to give his consent in marriage.

Jerry – usually lusty, opulent and vivacious – behaves as outrageously and melodramatically as possible to show Violet isn’t an unsophisticated “gold digger” like herself. But when the uncle breaks out of his shell and admits he loves Jerry, her plan is ruined and she’s forced to consider her own feelings as well. Music senior Adam Caplan, who plays the uncle, described the character as a “stick-in-the-mud character who finally has a coming of age and rebirth of childhood.”

Hopwood is famous for writing risqu

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