Performance Season Overview
U of M Department of Theatre Arts & Dance Announces 2014-2015 Season
The University of Minnesota’s Theatre Arts & Dance Department is pleased to announce its 2014-15 performance season. As University classes begin this September, so does producing at the Rarig Center and Barbara Baker Center for Dance. Auditions, rehearsals, design plans, shop activities and creative work leading to the following public productions of the fall, winter, and spring are underway.
Working, a Musical based on Studs Terkel’s book adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso opens the Rarig Center Mainstage season October 30 and plays through November 9 on the Stoll Thrust Stage. Under the direction of faculty member Lisa Channer (co-founder and co-artistic director of Theatre Novi Most) teamed with visiting artist Samantha Johns, Working explores the working lives of real people with a folk music-inspired score. With a talented cast of 22, the musical examines what, why, and for whom we work.
University Dance Theatre’s Dance Revolutions takes center stage of the Whiting Proscenium Theatre December 4 -7. This dazzling collection of innovative new works by Cowles Visiting Artists Greg Dolbashian, Justin Jones, Maurya Kerr, and faculty member Scott Rink will be performed by students. Dance Revolutions is directed by Toni Pierce-Sands, co-artistic director of TU Dance and a member of the Dance Program faculty.
7 Dwarfs presents a unique twist on the classic Snow White story. This fairy tale for adults considers the familiar plot from an entirely different perspective. The quirky comedy playing February 26-March 8 in the Whiting Proscenium Theatre was created by Minnesota playwright/ NPR commentator/author Kevin Kling. His long time artistic collaborator, faculty member Michael Sommers (artistic director of Open Eye Figure Theatre) directs the production.
Blue Stockings, a new play by Jessica Swale, makes its American premiere in April directed by Joel Sass and performed by University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program’s Senior Company. Set in 1896, the year Girton College became the first college in Britain to admit women, Tess Moffat and her fellow “first years” fight for the right to graduate and end up changing the future of education. Blue Stockings will be performed in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio.
Tickets for Mainstage performances are available by visiting theatre.umn.edu or by calling 612-624-2345. Admission prices include ticket fees: $6 for all students; $11 U of M faculty/staff; $16 general public.
From April 2-6, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre Actor Training Sophomore Company performs its annual pair of Shakespeare plays. This spring’s repertory features the comedies The Taming of the Shrew and The Comedy of Errors. Always cleverly staged with an emphasis on mastery of text, these pieces will be performed in the Stoll Thrust Theatre. All tickets for the Shakespeare rep are $6 and can be purchased online at theatre.umn.edu or by phone at 612-624-2345.
In addition to the Mainstage productions, Theatre Arts & Dance presents a wide variety of studio and informal showings that are free and open to the public with seating on a first come, first served basis.
The University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Theatre BFA Studio Series 2014-15 opens with Gorky’s classic Summerfolk, October 2 -5 in Rarig’s Kilburn Theatre. Later in October, the Sophomore Company will play three Tracy Letts works in repertory, Killer Joe, Bug, August: Osage County October 21- 28. In the spring, the Junior Company presents Medea February 26 – March 1 and later, two classic Moliere comedies, Lovers’ Quarrels playing in repertory with Learned Ladies from April 16- 19. To conclude the Series, the Freshman Company makes its formal debut with Fresh Scenes playing April 30 - May 2.
In addition, Creative Collaborations present informal showings after a series of intense rehearsal weeks focused on ensemble theater creation. Production elements are usually light, creativity and artistic risk are always high. Admission is free to Creative Collaborations; seating is based on first come first served basis.
Act II of Mayakovksy's Mystery Bouffe, directed by guest Polish artist Ludmila Ryba with input from Michal Kobialka, performs October 24 in the Nolte Xperimental Theatre. Mayakovsky’s play, grounded in the proletarian causes of the Russian revolution, directs performers to “change the content, making it contemporary, immediate, up-to-the-minute.” Ryba, an original member of Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre company, will utilize Kantor’s theories and methods in creating the piece. This piece anticipates the 100th anniversary of Kantor's birth in April 2015.
Theatre artist Dario Tangelson creates That Woman, an original devised piece inspired by passages from Saint Evita a novel by Tomás Eloy Martínez and from the short story That Woman by Rodolfo Walsh. The result of this collaboration will be performed on December 8 and 9 in the Xperimental Theatre. These works follow the journey surrounding Evita ́s dead embalmed body and the wax copies made of it. Part historical, mostly fiction, this story will present a whole new side of the Eva Peron story.
In the spring, Creative Collaborations workshops a new musical, about Earth First! the direct action environmental movement. EF!-The Musical project culminates March 6 and 7 in an informal showing. Maren Ward of Bedlam Theatre directs and expert DIY theater-maker Donna Oblongata joins the team as a visiting artist.
The environmental activism organization, Earth First! (EF!) has been at the forefront of the direct action movement to save the planet since the 1980’s. With the slogan,“No compromise in defense of Mother Earth,”EF!’s most visible actions have included tree-sits, road blockades, and activists chained.
With a recycled cardboard old growth forest set, choreographed zip-lining and campfire smoke, EF! The Musical will blend the seemingly disparate worlds of primitivist environmental action with the grandiose American musical tradition. Through this unpredictable marriage of content and form, EF! The Musical will ask audiences to personally consider the impact and implications of a "No Compromise" stance to save the planet.
This workshop project may eventually become a fully realized production to be staged at Bedlam Theatre.
Hidden Cities led by Gulgun Kayim is inspired by Italio Calvino’s book and performs April 27 and 28. Like Invisible Cities, this project will explore and draw from the experiences of the city and the imagination of each student to create short devised performances based on and scattered around various sites in Minneapolis.
Informal dance showings mark the end of the residencies of each of this year’s Cowles Visiting Artists. These informal showings, performed by dance students, take place in the Barker Dance Center and are free and open to the public. Works by Gregory Dolbashian and Justin Jones will be performed on September 26 at 4:30 PM, work by Maurya Kerr will be performed on October 17 at 4:30 PM, and Scott Rink’s new piece performs November 7 at 4:30 PM.
The Department of Theatre Arts & Dance serves 400 major students every year offering four undergraduate and two graduate programs through the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts. Academic achievement is supported by over 100 distinguished faculty and staff members at the Rarig Center and Barbara Barker Center for Dance. For information on our curriculum and programs visit theatre.umn.edu or dance.umn.edu or call 612 625-6699 (Theatre Arts) or 612 624-5060 (Dance).