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- U OF MN CENTENNIAL SHOWBOAT CANCELING 2015 SEASON:Financial impacts of 2014 floods still feltMinneapolis-St. Paul (May 5, 2015)--The University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance announced that performances aboard the Minnesota Centennial Showboat are being suspended for the summer of 2015.The Mississippi River flood during summer 2014 caused the cancellation of a significant portion of last year’s performances. The resulting financial shortfall, combined with deferred maintenance issues on the boat and the
razor-thin budgets common to most theaters, led to the decision to cancel the season.By pausing this year to explore financial restructuring and new potential for programing partnerships, the University plans to come to a viable solution for the future of the Minnesota Centennial Showboat.TARTUFFE IN DC: Taking the show on the road with TAD talents
"The stage is lit for a thunderstorm," explains Marcus Dilliard. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)Designer Marcus Dilliard, actors Luverne Seifert with alumna Susanne Warmanan join forces in a stunning Tartuffe at Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company.“To light his production of Tartuffe, Molière’s 17th-century satire of religious hypocrisy, director Dominique Serrand had a bright idea. Why not make it look as if it’s happening in a single day, from sunrise to sunset…” reveals the Washington Post‘s feature story “A Dark Tartuffe’s Light Touch.” To accomplish this stage illusion, the director turned to lighting designer Marcus Dilliard, his friend, longtime theatrical collaborator and TAD, chair. Dilliard is interviewed in this article which includes photos comparing the various “looks” he created to show shifting light over 24 hours through the towering windows of the three-story set.This Tartuffe production, hailed as “stunning,” features a cast that includes faculty member Luverne Seifert as Orgon, U of M alumna Suzanne Warmanen as Dorine and Steve Epp in the title role. University Theater audiences will recall Epp who with Serrand directed All’s Fair (2011) at Rarig Center. Tartuffe, now on stage through July 5 in Washington, D.C. had earlier stints at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory has provided new insights for the actors. "This three city tour of Tartuffe has been a professional pinnacle in my research as a performer,”reflected Luverne Seifert, who teaches acting and performance in the undergraduate B.A. program. “To be given the time to perform the same role over two years’ time has allowed me to fully investigate the nuance of characterization. It's a rare and valuable opportunity for any actor." Visit the Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/a-dark-tartuffes-light-touch/2015/06/11/9682bd2c-0af7-11e5-95fd-d580f1c5d44e_story.html
Steven Epp as Tartuffe and Luverne Seifert as Orgon in South Coast Repertory’s 2014 production of Molière’s 'Tartuffe', adapted by David Ball, directed by Dominique Serrand. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.
CENTER STAGE: Alums and student collaborate at Bryant Lake BowlFrancais L’Amour Francais, a show created and performed almost exclusively by alumni / current students from the U of M’s BA theatre program, opens this week at Bryant Lake Bowl. This dramatic-comedy featuring a troupe of Frenchmen and live music, will be performed in English and simultaneously translated into French. Director Edward Euclid (BA ’14) explains,“With zee tongue in zee cheek, French romance and the energy of improv comedy, zee kind of famous theatre company, Theatre de la Leuney Moons, travels to the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater to share with jou a night of passionate love. Come for zee passion, stay for zee lauffs.”Francais L’Amour Francais: 7:00 pm Thursday, June 18; Friday, June 19; Saturdays June 20 and 27. Tickets at http://www.bryantlakebowl.com/theater/francais-l-amour-francaisCast / Collaborators: Emma Elise Childs, Elizabeth Cooper, Mandy Goldberg, Alex Hathaway, Kasey Heimstead, Cate Jackson, Joe Kellen, Baltimore Krahn, Alec W. Lambert, Evan Burigo O'Brien, Nico Pecans, Caleigh Rose, Austin Ruh, Bree Schmidt, Alexander Stene.ALUMNI UPDATES:Nathan Barlow and Ryan Colbert, both TAD alums, perform in Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s Choir Boy making its regional premiere at the Guthrie, now through July 5. Under the direction of Peter Rothstein, who staged the critically acclaimed Spring Awakening at Rarig in 2013, this one act drama chronicles a year at an all-black boys’ school.Alums, Peter Rusk ('12) and Hugh Kennedy ('08) play in The Jungle Theatre's production of the classic Kauffman & Hart comedy, "You Can't Take it With You," which runs through August 9th. Be sure to catch Peter, Hugh, and a stellar cast of great performers under the direction of Gary Gisselman.Alums Michael Fell and Ben Tallen are featured in Theatre Pro Rata’s "The Illusion," that runs through June 28th, hosted at St Paul’s Park Square Theatre. Take this opportunity to see them in action in this intriguing classic comedy by Pierre Corneille, adapted by Tony Kushner. Michael was most recently played in the premiere of Lee Blessing’s new play For the Loyal at the Illusion Theatre, Minneapolis.Katie Klieger (BFA ’15) plays Mary Boyle in the Guthrie’s Juno and the Paycock staged by Joe Dowling. Moreover, within a span of six months, Ms. Kleiger has had the rare opportunity to perform on all three Guthrie stages —as Scrooge’s intended Bell in A Christmas Carol, and Tess Moffat in Blue Stockings. Talk about winning the Trifecta! -- Quite the accomplishment considering she was also completing her studies in order to graduate with honors earning her BFA diploma only days ago. A total of seven alums (three of whom graduated this month) are cast in Juno: Evan Adams, Dustin Bronson, Nate Cheeseman, Sean Michael Dooley, Casey Hoekstra, Riley O’Toole, and Katie Kleiger. Don’t miss this ensemble in Juno which closes June 28.Congratulations to our alum of 2013, Steven Lee Johnson, who was recently accepted into the graduate acting program at the Yale School of Drama! After being featured in productions locally at the Guthrie Theatre, Theatre Latté Da, and Park Square Theatre, Steven continued his acting career in Chicago at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. We wish him the best as he heads off to Yale in the fall!SPOTLIGHT: Summertime offers professional growth and research for facultyShapiro & Smith Dance with artistic director Joanie Smith were the first to ignite Northern Spark festival performances at Northrop earlier this month. At 9:01pm the Theatre Arts & Dance’s award-winning choreographer and educator, presented with her company three poignant and humorous dances featuring the dancer's hands. "Our hands serve as emblems for what is paradoxical in human nature: sources for healing, consolation, and love, as well as instruments of torture, murder and hate," said Smith. "What can be communicated with our hands and how we use them have cultural, personal, and societal implications."These original dances, built on outrageous handshakes, unusual caresses, and slapstick encounters, attracted an audience of over 400 to multiple performances throughout the night.In response, they interacted leaving their own handprints displayed in a Hands gallery at the venue. Shapiro & Smith Dance is known for tales of beauty and biting wit that run the gamut from the intensely provocative to the absurdly hilarious.Shapiro & Smith Dance offers a summer workshop (July 20-31) for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 16 and up. Visit info@shapiroandsmith dance.org or call (612) 879-0863 to register.NOTE: Earlier this year, Joanie Smith was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for artistic excellence in her career. She holds the Barbara Barker Endowed Chair as a University of Minnesota faculty member in Theatre Arts & Dance Department, and was recently featured in the national publication, Dance Teacher Magazine.Michael Sommers directs Wise Blood
Congratulations to faculty member Michael Sommers, director of "Wise Blood," presented by Soap Factory and Walker Art Center, which concluded its final performance this past weekend. Based on Flannery O'Connor's novel, the stunning opera composed by Anthony Gallo received high praise from numerous publications including the Minn Post for its "masterful direction…and terrific cast…that delivered something new and thrilling." Additionally, MPR's The Current called "Wise Blood" a "striking achievement... that achieves a haunting effect that's much more than the sum of its parts." Audiences followed the action flowing through Chris Larson's amazing art installation-setting from gallery to gallery with in the 130 year old factory structure. Bravo, artist / director / professor Michael Sommers!Summer Dance Intensive with Carl Flink and BLMThis summer’s Dance Intensive workshop in the Barbara Barker Center introduced 24 participants to a rigorous program based on Black Label Movement’s (BLM) contemporary movement technique, and Partnering Lab approaches aimed at creating their own original choreographic work.“Together we also explored works from BLM’s propulsive repertory,” reports BLM Artistic Directors Carl Flink (TAD faculty) who with Emilie Plauché Flink worked to stretch learners’ physical and creative limits over the 10 days which began in earlier in June. The workshop culminates with a public showing on Friday, June 26 at 1:30 pm in the Barker Center’s Studio 100. “Everyone is welcome to this free showing,” said Professor Flink, “The program will include two pieces from the BLM rep and original works created by participants in this U of M Theatre Arts and Dance workshop.”
Deb Pearson Awarded for Outstanding Service to CLA; Spring Frameworks launches Semester; History Theatre & UMTAD develop Glensheen, Musicalproject by Jeffery Hatcher & Chad PolingCongrats! A Standing Ovation for Deb Pearson
Deb Pearson has been honored for her outstanding service to the College of Liberal Arts. Dean Coleman in presenting the CLA Award January 21 at MacNamara Center remarked on Pearson 's years of dedicated service to the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance especially in the U of M /Guthrie Theatre Actor Training Program. Since 2005 Deb Pearson has served as a BFA associate supporting the work of this program behind the scenes. While her official title is teaching specialist, she covers a wide variety of responsibilities -- from advising to calming nervous student actors, planning the logistics of auditions, to scrounging for cheap props at Savers, and welcoming audience members as house manager for BFA showing. Dedicated, resourceful, talented and generous, Deb is living proof "there's no people like show people" Thank you, Deb, for all you do. It's time to steal that extra bow.
Spring Frameworks (Now with Fall Reflections!)
Rarig's Whiting Proscenium Theater Friday, Jan. 23rd noon-1:15pm
The Theater Arts & Dance community convenes for student reflections on the fall and sneak peeks towards spring. Students from BA and BFA theater and dance will perform and reflect on what they learned from Tadeusz Kantor, Tracy Letts, and the Walker Choreographer's evening, which responded to events in Ferguson. Directors Joel Sass and Michael Sommers (with designers) will offer their thoughts on what Blue Stockings and 7 Dwarfs provoke us to consider. The Peers will launch the first ever Theater/Dance 24-hour creative collaboration! All are invited to connect and question together.
GLENSHEEN : A Musical in Development
The University of Minnesota Theatre Arts & Dance department in partnership with St. Paul's History Theatre announce acting and vocal student auditions for Glensheen: A Musical in Development January 26-27. Professor Dominic Taylor is coordinating the collaborative project as part of his playwriting students to observe the process of creating a musical. GLENSHEEN book by Jeffrey Hatcher with music and lyrics by Chan Poling will be directed by Ron Peluso (U of M alum) Artistic Director of History Theatre, where it will be eventually staged following this development phase.
This world premiere musical will explore the murder mystery at the great Glensheen Mansion on Lake Superior in Duluth. The 1977 American tragedy was one of the most intriguing and public stories in Minnesota history. Newspapers of the time covered this story for years and a handful of books were published tracking the drama that surrounded the trials. Hatcher and Poling explore the complex nature of the investigation and the bizarre behavior of the accused murderer, Roger Caldwell, and his wife Marjorie. GLENSHEEN is a dark musical with a crackling satirical edge - in the vein of Broadway favorites Sweeney Todd and Chicago.