Hope College Theatre will open its 2005-06 season with "Strider" beginning Friday, Oct. 14.

The production will have a two-week run, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15, and Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 19-22, in the DeWitt Center main theatre. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

"Strider," a play with music by Mark Rozovsky, is adapted from a Leo Tolstoy story of life seen through the eyes of Strider, a piebald horse. Despite his maverick coat, Strider is a thoroughbred and a champion. Both equine and thoughtfully human, he tells his story to the other horses in the stable. His tale is of unexpected triumph and undeserved despair, running much the same as his master's, a dissolute prince. "Strider" is also an allegory about the indomitability of the pure in spirit, and while inspirational is also a commentary on the injustices of the world.

According to Michelle Bombe, a member of the Hope College theatre faculty and director of theatre, "This production is a wonderful example of one of our strengths at Hope College--faculty/student research. Our faculty director, John Tammi has been working with two of our senior students to co-direct this production and it has been very exciting to watch the combination of Tammi's wisdom and experience and the students' creativity and energy. The play itself is a beautiful story of what it means to be different--the other, obviously a theme which continues to cause struggle in our world."

Members of the production team include Hope College theatre faculty, Richard Smith as scenic and property designer, Michelle Bombe as costume designer, and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer. Technical direction is by Hope College staff member Paul Anderson.

Serving as assistant directors are two Hope students: senior Kendra Stock of St. Charles, Ill., and senior Eric Van Tassell of Spencer, Iowa. Peter Van Kempen, a junior from Holland, is the production's musical director. Other Hope students involved are stage manager Betsy Carlson, a senior from Slidell, La.; assistant properties designer Mike Dominiak, a senior from Dearborn; assistant costume designer Amanda N. Spaanstra, a sophomore from Eau Claire, Wis.; assistant stage manager Reagan Chesnut, a sophomore from Grand Rapids; and assistant stage manager Bethany Richardson, a freshman from Staunton, Va.

Cast members include: freshman Justin Barigian of Coarsegold, Calif., as the General; senior Alyssa Garcia Bauer of Grand Rapids as the Gypsy; senior Heather Janofski of Marquette as Vaska; freshman Jeff Lampen of Zeeland as Feofan/Fritz; freshman Ritchie Latimore of Dayton, Ohio, as Darling/Count Bobrinsky/Lieutenant; sophomore Brandon Ruiter of Grand Rapids as Strider; sophomore Kelly Sina of Watertown, Wis., as Viazapurikha/Mattieu/Marie; sophomore Jon Sprik of Grand Rapids as Prince Serpuhovsky; and sophomore Drew VerLee of Bloomfield Hills as the Groom.

Additional members of the herd include: sophomore Katherine Drew Bramley of Northfield, Ill.; freshman Isaac M. Bush of Muskegon; sophomore Isaac D. Droscha of Mason; junior Kate Goetzinger of Indianapolis, Ind.; freshman Alex Griffith of Naperville, Ill.; sophomore Alexandra McLeod of Traverse City; sophomore Whitney Thomas of Granville, Ohio; freshman Laura Van Tassell of Spencer, Iowa; and sophomore Rachel Wells of West Bend, Wis.

Tickets for "Strider" cost $7 for regular admission, $5 for members of the Hope faculty and staff, and $4 for students and senior citizens, and are available in the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on performance nights until 8 p.m., and may be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.