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King University News :: King University Theatre to Present "The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks" at Paramount Center for the Arts April 10-12

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 3, 2014 – King University Theatre brings the musical adventure “The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks” to stage during its annual family-friendly Dogwood Playhouse production, a part of King’s Dogwood Weekend celebration, a weekend in which King’s alumni reunite, reconnect, and reminisce. “The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks,” book and lyrics, is written by King alumna Katherine Paterson and Stephanie Tolan. The music is written by Steve Liebman. The show will be held at the Paramount Center for the Arts on April 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and April 12 at 2:30 p.m.

“With last spring’s Dogwood production of ‘How I Became a Pirate’ receiving such rave reviews, we wanted to bring back another theatre-for-youth musical,” said Elizabeth Lee Dollar, chair of the Performing Visual Arts Department and director of Theatre for King University. “The performance will combine several Japanese theatrical traditions in the telling of the folk tale about a mandarin duck that is caught by a cruel lord who only wants the bird for its beauty. When the duck begins to get ill from being separated from his mate, the young kitchen maid defies the lord’s orders and releases the bird. She and another servant Shozo are sentenced to death for aiding the bird, but the mandarin duck intends to repay them for their generosity.”

The Dogwood Playhouse musical is directed by Elizabeth Lee Dollar with Music Direction by Samantha Salyers (’13), Scenic and Sound Design by Christopher R. Slaughter, Costume Design by De-Anda Hatfield (‘13), Choreography by Nora Beth Moran (’11) and the Stage Manager is junior Robin Dotson.  The cast features junior Joshua Bartosch as the narrator, junior Wayne Thomas as Shozo, senior Tinsley Long as Yasuko, junior Bob Dotson as Lord, freshman Zach Ostrander as Drake, freshman Brooke Addington as Duck, and King Fellow Megan Robbins and junior Natasha Trombley as Ko Ken.

The author of “The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks,” Katherine Paterson, a 1954 alumna of King College, has authored more than 30 books including 16 novels for children and young people. She received her master’s degree from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. After teaching for a year, Paterson spent four years in Japan as a missionary. She then traveled back to New York to pursue a second master’s degree in religious education. 

Born in China in 1932 to Christian missionaries, Paterson spent much of her childhood there until the family was forced to flee during the Japanese invasion.  Her family moved often due to their missionary work.  While in school, Paterson began to write, penning many plays, in which her peers acted. 

Paterson’s first children’s novel, “The Sign of the Chrysanthemum,” published in 1973, was a Japanese fairy tale, based on her studies in Japan. Paterson’s writing career includes 39 published works. Her best known work is “The Bridge to Terabithia,” published in 1977, and adapted for film twice, a 1985 PBS version and the Disney/Walden Media production in 2007. Paterson’s most recent books are “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” (June 2011) and “The Flint Heart” (Sept. 2011). She is also contributor to a serialized story, “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure,” available exclusively on the Library of Congress web site. Paterson penned the final episode, which debuted in Sept. at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington D.C.

In 2011, Paterson was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Paterson, who served in the position throughout 2011, chose “Read for Your Life” as the theme for her platform. She was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award on Jan. 10, 2014 at The Conference on Christianity and Literature’s Chicago Modern Language Association Convention.

Having been named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000, Paterson’s awards are numerous.  She is a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal for “Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved,” and received the National Book Award for “The Great Gilly Hopkins” and “The Master Puppeteer.” Other accolades include the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. 

Paterson is also a founding member of the National Advisory Board for the Buechner Institute at King University. 

Tickets can be purchased at the Paramount Box Office by calling 423-274-8920 or by going to Adult tickets are $10.00, senior citizens are $8.00, and students are $5.00. Tickets are free with a King University ID. For additional information, contact Elizabeth Lee Dollar at 423.652.4839.


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.