UMKC Theatre has announced the lineup for their undergraduate and graduate 2017-18 season, which includes four co-productions with local professional theaters.
The season begins with Stephanie Roberts’ undergraduate production of DOG SEES GOD by Bert V. Royal in September.
The graduate season opens in October with GO. PLEASE. GO. by Emily Feldman and directed by Joshua Brody, followed by STORYTELLING PROJECT, a devised piece directed by Karen Lisondra. FREEDOM SUMMER, by Ricardo Khan, Denise Nicholas and Sibusiso Mamba, and directed by Ricardo Khan, completes the graduate season.
The four co-productions include MEN ON BOATS by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Missy Koonce at the Unicorn Theatre, KING LEAR by William Shakespeare and directed by Ryan Artzberger at Kansas City Actors Theatre, STUPID FUCKING BIRD by Aaron Posner and directed by Theodore Swetz at Unicorn Theatre, and IMAGINARY FRIENDS: LEGEND OF SINNISSIPPI PARK by Terry Brooks and directed by Graham Whitehead at The Coterie Theatre.
“UMKC Theatre began the summer in consternation but was recognized with the amazing support of Kansas City: our co-producing partner theatres, theatre patrons, professional colleagues across the nation, our fantastic alumni, and of course our wonderful students who all came to our support in our time of need. Because of them, we’ve been able to put together a budget that will allow us to produce a quality season of plays,” said Tom Mardikes, Chair of UMKC Theatre. “UMKC Theatre and UMKC administration are still working on solving a number of issues for the future. We have reached an agreement on the budget that will allow two faculty members to return and all our graduate students are being funded as promised. The best news is that Ricardo Khan has been rehired and will continue writing and directing FREEDOM SUMMER, the second play in our trilogy on the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.”
UMKC Theatre’s 2017/2018 Season (from the press release):
DOG SEE GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead
By Bert V. Royal and directed by Stephanie Roberts
September 29 – October 8th, 2017
Studio 116, Olson PAC
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is a reimagining of our beloved characters as modern, dysfunctional adolescents. Drugs, sex, violence—good grief! This dark comedy dives headfirst into teen angst and the painful reality of trying to find one’s place in the world.
GO. PLEASE. GO.
By Emily Feldman and directed by Joshua Brody
December 1st – December 10th, 2017
Studio 116, Olson PAC
A couple decides: This isn’t working. He says he’ll leave, and then he doesn’t. He stays and stays and stays. Through seventy years of marriages, bar mitzvahs, baptisms, and funerals, he stays. People get drunk. People get sober. People plan vacations. People die. Somebody wins the lottery. A baby grows up. Everybody dances. GO. PLEASE. GO. asks what it means to love somebody for a lifetime, and what a lifetime even means.
February 23rd – March 4th, 2018
Studio 116, Olson PAC
Devised by Karen Lisondra and the second-year MFA Acting class, Storytelling Project aims to create a visual and musical experience through personal stories and physical storytelling. With inspired compositions the creation of original instruments by Amado Espinoza, audiences will be pulled into the true collaboration that exists within us all.
by Ricardo Khan, Denise Nicholas and Sibusiso Mamba and directed by Ricardo Khan
May 4th – May 13th
Studio 116, Olson PAC
When the hate and inhumanity of man against man makes it seem sometimes like the bad guys and bullies are winning, don’t fret. For there are always some who will stand up in the face of it, and with courage, love and a belief that we are better than that, prove the best of who we truly are. In the summer of 1964, groups of college students, black and white together from across America, gave up their summer vacations, their sense of comfort and safety, and travelled south into the very mouth of one of the most frightening, racist places imaginable at that time, Mississippi, where black Americans were being systematically terrorized and intimidated out of their right to vote, and good people were being killed just for trying to help. That summer, Mississippi burned and the country saw and bore the spiritual cost. But because of the efforts of these brave and beautiful young people, the light in us prevailed and history was made. And in the process, united for a cause greater than themselves, they also found joy, love, and music. Freedom Summer.
MEN ON BOATS
Co-produced with Unicorn Theatre.
Written by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Missy Koonce
Ten manly explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. And an all-female cast! Men on Boats tells the true story of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of daring volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River, dodging rapids and naming every landmark. This rowdy satire written in modern language about fearless pioneers takes on a whole new meaning with women at the helm.
Performances run Sept. 6 –Oct. 1 at Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main Street, KC MO.
Co-produced with Kansas City Actors Theatre.
October delivers a new take on Shakespeare’s King Lear, directed by Ryan Artzberger. Starring Theodore Swetz with a cast that includes Mark Robbins, Peggy Friesen and Logan Black, this classic tale of tragic hubris, sibling rivalry, and heated passions will be produced in a renewed partnership between KCAT and UMKC Theatre.
Performances run Oct. 13 –22 in Spencer Theatre, Olson PAC.
STUPID FUCKING BIRD
Co-produced with Unicorn Theatre
By Aaron Posner and directed by Theodore Swetz.
An aspiring director, a beautiful young actress, an aging Hollywood star and a famous author discover the messed-up joys and thrilling heartbreaks of the struggle to create new art. In this hilarious reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner pits two tangled generations of star-crossed lovers against each other in the search for love and true meaning. With original songs, boundary-crossing innovation, and irreverent wit, Stupid Fucking Bird gives the finger to one classic play.
These production previews begin Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, open Dec. 2 and run through Dec. 24 at Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main Street, KCMO.
IMAGINARY FRIENDS: Legend of Sinnissippi Park
Co-produced with the Coterie Theatre
By Terry Brooks and directed by Graham Whitehead
A world premiere production with magic and wonderment, the play begins with 13-year-old Jack McCall learning some very bad news about his health. His best friend Waddy is not as concerned as he is, since you hear stories of people getting over this illness all the time. From there, reality blends with fantasy as Jack becomes convinced that he needs to find his way back to the magical park and the IMAGINARY FRIENDS: Legend of Sinnissippi Park from his childhood. An elf named Pick along with an owl, a troll, and a ghost challenge Jack to an adventure to save the park from an evil imprisoned in a massive tree. But this adventure may not even be real, so what does facing this adversary in the park have to do with Jack’s sickness anyway?
Performances run Jan. 23 –Feb. 11 at Coterie Theatre, Crown Center, 2450 Grand Ave. KCMO.
For more information on UMKC Theatre visit umkctheatre.org.