FIERCE musical theater gives students unique opportunity

An SIU student will make his solo directing debut as others get a chance to be a part of an all-student musical this weekend.

SIU’s FIERCE, a musical theater registered student organization that gives anyone the chance to learn everything about working in musical theater, will present “Once on this Island.” The show, written by Lynn Ahrens with music by Stephen Flaherty, premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday in Shryock Auditorium. 

It is a musical about a mythical island with an unfair class system. When a terrible storm comes, elders try and calm a little girl by telling her the story of a peasant girl on a journey for the Gods.


Tim Fink, the faculty adviser for the RSO, said FIRECE theater is different from the other productions done by the SIU theater department because there is much less faculty participation.

Everything from promotion to directing in this weekend’s show is done by the students involved with FIERCE, said Fink a professor and director of opera and music theater.

This kind of event gives students the problem-solving skills that only come with doing a job, he said.

Chris Ceradsky, a senior studying musical theater from Columbia, said even the projects are initiated through the students. They pick what play they are doing and raise the money to do it.

“We’re devoted to bringing more performances as well as providing more theater for the community,” said Ceradsky, who is directing for the first time.

Cerdasky has co-directed along with other jobs in the theater department and class, but this was a completely different kind of experience, he said.

He said he did not realize how much went into a show as the director, but the struggles have been rewarding. 


“Doing theater for so long it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I know what to do,'” Cerdasky said. “Now I’m like, ‘Wow, there’s all this I have to do.'”

Clayton Bathiany, a junior studying musical theater from Fort Thomas, Ky., plays Daniel in the show, said this is not only a place for musical theater and theater majors. 

Bathiany, who has worked at various positions in the RSO, encouraged students from any major to join FIERCE theater.

Seeing people from outside the art and acting circle come in and do something new was the most rewarding part, he said.

“It is great to see them grow and develop skill and get more confidence,” he said. 

Tickets for this musical are $5.

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325