‘Tom, Huck and Becky’ performed in conjunction with Big Read

560 Music Center to host two performances Feb. 18 and Feb. 25

Washington University will host free productions of the original musical “The Assorted Short Adventures of Tom, Huck and Becky” at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, and Thursday, Feb. 25, at the 560 Music Center at 560 Trinity Ave. in University City.

The performances are being held in conjunction with the Big Read, a national program to encourage reading by bringing communities together to read and discuss a common book. The book chosen for the 2010 Big Read is “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.

Admission to the musical is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call (314) 863-0278 or e-mail evlasaty@culturalfestivals.com.

The musical will be presented by That Uppity Theatre Company and performed by the DisAbility Project, an ensemble of actors and actresses with and without disabilities.

Suitable for all ages, “Tom, Huck and Becky” presents a lively selection of adventures from Twain’s classic story, enriched by audience participation and original songs. Most of the actors are in wheelchairs, including the leading roles, Tom (portrayed by Margaret Jorgensen) and Becky (portrayed by Ana Jennings).

“Tom, Huck and Becky” was written by Aarya Sara Locker and Joan Lipkin of the DisAbility Project and That Uppity Theatre Company. The music was written by local songwriters and musicians Steve Givens, WUSTL’s associate vice chancellor for public affairs, and Mike Hall. Givens also wrote the lyrics. Vocal coaching for the ensemble of actors is by Felicia Scott, and choreography is by J.T. Ricroft.

The award-winning DisAbility Project strives, through high-quality live theater, to empower individuals, spark imaginations, provide artistic opportunities and foster community. Performances provide opportunities to learn about disability issues and highlight the potential and skills that many people with disabilities possess.

Other WUSTL activities centered around the Big Read were an open house for educators Feb. 13 at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, where teachers and professors could learn about new educational programs and teaching ideas; and public group discussions of “Tom Sawyer” at University City Library led by graduate students in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences.

In addition, the university’s Office of Government and Community Relations provided age-appropriate versions of “Tom Sawyer” to hundreds of students in University City schools.

For more information about the Big Read, visit bigread.net/big_read_home.html.