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NMSU Theatre’s ‘Syd, the Solstice Kid’: A ray of brilliant sunlight to warm a cold, dark winter night


New Mexico State University Theatre Department’s current production of “Syd, the Solstice Kid” is a children’s show to be sure. It is also a wonderful, uplifting, entertaining and just plain fun way to spend an evening (55 minutes, actually) for anyone of any age who loves great theater.

The four young actors in this show – NMSU theatre students Riley Merritt (Simon), Kamryn Neill (Kaysy), Janai Hanley (Deonn) and Dominique Gomez (Syd) – bring you the sun, sol, Tai You, Zon and Helios in fascinating (and educational!) solstice stories from Africa, Alaska, Canada, China, Denmark, Greenland,

Japan, the Kalahari Desert, Norway and Sweden, with just a touch of Las Cruces mixed in.

With accompaniment from the show’s musical director, the incomparable Lisa Hermanson, seniors Riley, Kamryn and Dominque and freshman Janai, who also goes by JJ, fill the stage, and, indeed, the entire Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre, with their energy, their joy and their captivating charm and incredible talent.

Singing and dancing and inviting audience participation throughout the show, they are the wolves that eat Sol and Mani, the sun god and goddess of Norse mythology. They are the Inuit of the far north that was so cold and so dark as they waited for Crow to bring them the sun. They wear dumplings to keep their ears warm at the Far East Dongzhi Festival and they help Sun Man raise his arms (for his armpits “glow and shine”) into the sky to bring light to southern Africa.

They are Grandfather Mantis, Rock Rabbit, Mongoose and Blue Crane in wonderful costumes designed by Chloe Cappuccilli (thanks and kudos to Tamara Carruthers and her entire crew in the Theatre Department costume shop), who also created the show’s amazing props, with Jim Billings doing the scenic design for the production, as he has done so brilliantly for so many others at NMSU since 1985.

In a tribute to the cast and crew of “Syd,” and to Susan Bardsley, who wrote the music and lyrics and Lani Brockman, who adapted it (and to Theodore Seuss Geisel, who would have loved it):

I cross my heart and make this vow

If you get a ticket right here and now

And go see “Syd, the Solstice Kid”

You will be very, very glad you did.

Remaining performances of “Syd” are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27 and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 28. The ASNMSU Center for the Arts is located at 1000 E. University Ave.

Tickets are $12 and are available www.onthestage.tickets/show/new-mexico-state-university/syd-the-solstice-kid-85401 or visit https://theatre.nmsu.edu/, click on the purple “Syd, the Solstice Kid” poster and then click on “BUY TICKETS.” You can also buy tickets at the Center for the Arts before each performance. Or, to purchase tickets by phone, call 575-646-4515.

You will find the program for the show at https://theatre.nmsu.edu/performances-events/syd_Program-posting.pdf.