The university will bring the young adult novel to life in a way never done before.
Coming to TU for one night only is “Sea Breeze Academy: The Concert Reading,” directed and produced by TU senior and published author Bryant Loney. This event, hosted by the TU Creative Writing department and in partnership with the Alpha Psi Omega theatre fraternity, will bring Loney’s subversive writing to life.
Loney released his experimental novel “Sea Breeze Academy” in June of 2018. The novel centers around a group of teenagers at a boarding school in Southern California who discover that they are living in a television sitcom.
A concert reading is the perfect way to highlight Loney’s innovative work. “The book’s format as a script/novel hybrid lends itself to this uncommon storytelling experience,” Loney says, “and I am so grateful to the university and the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities for such an incredible opportunity.”
Although Loney is the author, he will not be acting in the reading. He says, “This performance is meant to showcase the spectacular talent of the student performers we have at the University of Tulsa,” adding, “With this event, I wanted to do everything in my ability to give these wonderful folks the spotlight they deserve.”
As the director, Loney had the opportunity to cast TU theatre students for the roles of his characters. Emily Peterson, a sophomore musical theatre major, plays Brooklyn Rivers, the novel’s go-getter girl protagonist.
This is Peterson’s first concert reading. She was drawn to Brooklyn, the consummate fashionista, because “she is the epitome of the girl who has it all, yet she’s in a situation that is out of her control, and it’s interesting to see her try to deal with it.”
To accompany Peterson, Loney cast Mitchell Shorey, a creative writing major and theatre minor, as the other lead, Matthew Flynn. Loney describes Flynn as, “Lovably dorky. The smart one. He tries his best.”
Shorey related to Matthew’s sense of humor and need for order. “Matthew has a dry sense of humor and probably a control complex, if his difficulty to adjust to the change at Sea Breeze Academy is any indication. I can relate to that. You should see me try to plan a party.”
Stasha Cole, a freshman English and Russian Studies double major, was cast as the pretty-but-goofy Virgo Torres. This is Cole’s first performance since middle school, but she was drawn to play Virgo’s character because “Virgo seemed the most humanized character in the script. She is honest, cares about her friends, is sarcastic and works hard.”
Jourdon White, a junior mechanical engineering major and theatre minor, plays the jokester of the group, Chris Carmichael. What drew White to his character is their similar personalities. “After reading the script, Chris was a character choice very similar to myself as a person. His wit, sense of humor and general upbeat personality really sold the character for me.”
Additionally, freshman Hannah Triplett plays Liss Williams, the nerdy outsider. Triplett relates to her character, saying, “I identify with Liss’s quirkiness because she is passionate about what many people are quick to dismiss. I believe there are peculiarities in all of us, so Liss seems very human to me in this way.”
Loney is excited to present his work in this manner because the event will highlight more than just his own talent. “I hope the reading will help in bridging the gap between the creative writing and theatre departments, especially due to all the students we have at TU across disciplines who have a serious interest in writing and performance.” He adds, “Artistry does not need to be in solitude. In true TU fashion, we are always better together. We celebrate and strive as one.”
Promised by Peterson to be “a night of fun, intrigue and a few surprises you won’t want to miss,” “Sea Breeze Academy: The Concert Reading” will be held Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Adelson Auditorium in Tyrrell Hall. Mark the date on your calendars and show up to support fellow TU students at this exciting, free, one-night-only event.