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Broadway Actor to Attend Opening Night of Mainstage Performance

Theater students at SUNY Plattsburgh are looking forward to the Nov. 6 opening of the department's Mainstage production of "The Musical Comedy Murder Mysteries of 1940" by John Bishop. The students are excited not only to show audiences the results of their hard work, but because they have learned that Bruce Dow, an actor known for his appearances on Broadway as well as his work with Shakespearian plays, will be in the audience on opening night.

"The Musical Comedy Murder Mysteries of 1940" runs Nov. 6, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2:00 p.m. It will take place in Hartman Theatre, Myers Fine Arts Building, at SUNY Plattsburgh. Tickets will be sold at the door. Prices are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizens and students. Call the Performing Arts Event Information line at 518-564-2283 for more information.

"The show is not a musical but a farce based on the form of murder mysteries. There are revolving bookcases and sliding panels and enough red herrings to keep the crowd wondering who done it," explains Karen Hildebrand, the theater faculty member who is directing the play. "We are so pleased to have Bruce here for opening night to add to the anticipation."

Dow befriended the SUNY Plattsburgh theater students when they recently attended the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. Students became personally acquainted with Dow during a talk-back session following the Stratford production of "Cabaret" in which he held the leading role of master of ceremonies in the play.

"We do a lot of chats with a lot of student groups — but every so often a group of students comes along and blows my mind.  Their (the Plattsburgh students') questions are above and beyond the pale, because the students are above and beyond," exclaimed Dow.

As a the result of a follow-up correspondence with theater major, Tyler Nye, Dow decided to come and see the students on the opening night of their show, making time to take a side trip to Plattsburgh before attending a seminar in Ottawa.

"Obviously their professors are doing something right, something very right, because this group was an exceptional bunch of bright, beautiful and blazing young talents," said Dow.

"We have had actors at the Stratford Festival compliment our group before" said Professor of English and Theater Dr. John Shout, who has organized the Stratford trip for years. "But this is extraordinary." 

"I am nonplussed by the praise and by Dow's upcoming visit to SUNY Plattsburgh," said Dr. Tim Palkovic, chair of the theater department. "Every season at Stratford, we see him bring the house down with his performance, and this year was no exception." Palkovic continued, "Just to have him speak to us after that inspiring performance was enough. But to have him visit the campus in addition is astonishing."

Dow's Broadway credits include "Anything Goes," "The Music Man" and "Jane Eyre." During his time in New York, he worked with directors such as John Caird, Susan Stroman, Robert Longbottom, and Scott Schwartz. He played Pirelli in the Toronto revival of "Sweeney Todd" directed by Morris Panych, which led to his first Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination, for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role.

In the early 1990s Dow began work at the Stratford Festival of Canada (known now as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival), and his work there has put him on the map, both with audiences and with critics alike. His first major role there was in "The Mikado," playing the role of Nanki-Poo. After playing the role of Sancho Panza in "Man of La Mancha," opposite Juan Chioran, Dow received numerous accolades from theater critics, and audiences began to fall in love with him.

His strong work has continued at the festival with roles in "Oliver" and "Patience." In 2005, he was able to perform as the baker in Peter Hinton's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods."

Dow is not only an accomplished musical theatre actor, but he has performed roles in "Julius Caesar," "As You Like It," "The Merchant Of Venice" and, most recently, "The Comedy Of Errors,"  in which he played one of the infamous twins. His professional theater career has taken him from Broadway to Toronto to Stratford where he now makes his home.

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