Director Revisits an 'Old Friend'

Bruce Williams, director of NDNU's production of "Our Town," finds many similarities between Belmont and Grover's Corners.

For Bruce Williams, the selection of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" as the at (NDNU) was a natural choice.

"What appealed to me about doing 'Our Town' is there's not a lot of difference ," said Williams. (Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, is the fictional town in which the play is set.)

An American classic, Williams said he wanted to direct "Our Town" for NDNU because he wanted to expose students of all ages to this piece of timeless theatre.

"It's an amazing play about life---even though it's set in a fictional town," said Williams.

To emphasize the similarities between Grover's Corners and Belmont, Williams and the production staff incorporated projected images of Belmont into set design. The images were were supplied by , curator of the Belmont Historical Society.

Williams, an NDNU faculty member has directed numerous plays at the university, including "Much Ado About Nothing," "You Can’t Take It With You," "Hotel Paradiso," "The Escape, Misalliance," and "The Beard of Avon." 

He is also a core company member at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT), acting in more than 44 main stage productions, including "Our Town." 

Of the production's run at NDNU, Williams says,

 “...welcome back to "Our Town."  It’s with great pleasure that I have had the chance to revisit this old friend.  I’ve come to believe that Our Town is a depiction of a world where:

The act of falling in love is sacred

Life is bigger than the successes and failures of any one person.  There is something eternal and lasting in the bigger picture.  We all are born, live, and die, but with the help of all of our individual efforts the world moves forward.

There is great joy in life.  There is great pain.  In any case, everyone does the best they can with what they’ve been given.

We need to take a moment to be grateful for this great adventure.

So, welcome back to OUR TOWN.  Hope you enjoy your revisit.”

In addition to Bruce Williams, the "Our Town" production team is comprised of:

  • Professor R. Dutch Fritz--Technical and Design Director, Scenic Designer.  
  • Barbara Kassal--Costume Design  
  • Jennifer Salmeron (NDNU student)--Lighting Design
  • William Springhorn, theatre faculty member--Projection Image and Sound Designer and Master Electrician. 
  • Larry Rice--Music and Choral Director. 
  • John Ballas--Production Stage Manager., 
  • Jennifer Earlywine, instructor in the Department of Theatre and Dance--the Make Up Designer.  
  • Mary Hill, NDNU Theatre and Dance Administration and Production Coordinator--Properties designer for production. 


Presented by the  Department of Theatre, "Our Town" will run April 13-14 and April 20-21 at 7:30 p.m. and April 22 at 2:00 p.m.

Ticket Info

  • Tickets are available at the door 
  • Admission is just $1 for Belmont residents, with proof of residency
  • General Admission is $10
  • For tickets, go to boxoffice@ndnu.edu, call 650 508-3456, or email boxoffice@ndnu.edu
  • Schools may reserve seats for the April 19th matinee by contacting the Theatre and Dance department at 650-508-3623 
  • The NDNU Theatre is located at 1500 Ralston Ave.

(Editor's Note: Michael Elkins contributed to this story.)


Tickets are available at the door


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