The University of Kansas has announced the public performance schedule for the University Theatre and University Dance Company, the first joint season since the recent merger of the theater and dance departments.
Common themes will dot both the dance and theatrical productions, offering audiences a season filled with more diverse casting. “The University Theatre and University Dance Company aim to provide the community with a more immersive, cohesive and relevant cultural experience,” comments Katherine Pryor, Director of Theatre. “We are confident our cast can rise to the dialect challenges presented in a couple of these plays and the design for these productions will exemplify the high standards of scenography and costuming the department’s become known for.”
Season highlights include the musical A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, the Tony Award-winning play THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME, and guest choreographers working alongside faculty choreographers, to create an evening of dance devoted to the roots of skiffle music. The piece will tie into the theater departments production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS.
The 2018-2019 University Theatre Season (from the press release):
“A Man of No Importance”
Book by Terrence McNally, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the film “A Man of No Importance”
Directed by Lusie Cuskey
Led by Alfie Byrne, the St. Imelda Players are a (fairly terrible) amateur group who struggle to produce Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” in the social hall of the Catholic parish church. They navigate societal expectations and secret crushes only to find that no one’s romantic life is simple, but that in the end “you just have to love who you love.” Set in 1964 Dublin, the musical celebration of theatre, identity and community is based on the Albert Finney film by the same name.
“Electra” by Sophocles
Directed and adapted by Nathan Bowman
Electra has hoped for her mother’s death, and with the surprise homecoming of her brother Orestes, her hope becomes reality. Reunited, the siblings seek vengeance for the death of their father at the hands of their mother. The play follows Electra’s psychological deterioration as she is pulled and
manipulated by both her mother and brother. This highly-regarded Greek tragedy features one of the most well-developed female characters of the classical canon of theatre.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens
Directed by Guest Director Harry Parker, Texas Christian University Department of Theatre Chair
In this play based on the best-selling 2003 novel, Christopher, a 15-year-old English boy, discovers the neighbor’s dog has been murdered and decides to investigate. Christopher is on the autism spectrum and carefully records each fact in a “murder mystery” book, which provides a look inside his intricate
mind. What he discovers upturns his world and empowers him to pursue his dreams and face his fears.
“One Man, Two Guvnors”
by Richard Bean
Based on “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni, with Songs by Grant Olding
Directed by Jason Bohon
In 1963 England, a skiffle player named Francis is kicked out of his band and becomes separately employed by two men: a small-time gangster and an upper-class twit. In action-packed, hilarious and downright ridiculous scenes, Francis goes out of his way to serve two “guvnors” and keep his dual
employment a secret. And, he’s not the only one hiding something in this 2012 Tony Award-winning farce, an adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters,” a 1743 Commedia dell’arte play by Carlo Goldoni.
“Sycorax” by Susan Gayle Todd
Directed by Jane Barnette
In a regional premiere, Susan Gayle Todd’s prequel to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest tells the poignant story of the mother of the “servant monster” Caliban. This tragedy imagines the life of the witch Sycorax as an Algerian healer who rises to power only to be scapegoated by powerful men.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Benjamin Britten
Libretto adapted from Shakespeare by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Directed by John Stephens
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the opera, is adapted from William Shakespeare’s play by the same name. The classic comedy consists of romantic tangles, brought on by interference from the fairy world, connected to the celebration of the royal wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazonian queen, Hippolyta. Set in an enchanted woodland, it explores themes of love, betrayal and especially fantasy. Staged in cooperation with the School of Music featuring the KU Symphony Orchestra.
The University Dance Company 2018-19 Season (from the press release):
University Dance Company Fall Concert
Featuring guest choreographer Mariana Oliveira
To celebrate the inaugural year of the Department of Theatre and Dance, faculty and guest choreographers embrace the concept of adaptation used in theatre to create new choreographed works. Some of the works being adapted are Ann Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire” and Michel Fokine’s “The Dying Swan,” originally adapted from the Tennyson poem of the same name. Using styles ranging from classical ballet to African diaspora to modern, the dance concert communicates themes of cultural and sexual identity and environmentalism. Originally from Brazil, guest artist Mariana Oliveira
has set works on the Joffrey Ballet and the Kansas City Ballet, among others. Her residency is made possible by the John M. and Francis R.B. Peterson Guest Artist Fund.
Choreographed and performed by Belén Maya
A solo show, this experimental contemporary dance theatre work incorporates text, movement, percussive footwork, circus feats, street busking and more to a score of music by Roma women. Belén Maya, an innovator and critically acclaimed performing artist, became instantly recognized around the
world in Carlos Saura’s 1995 film “Flamenco.” In “Romnia” (women in the Romani language), Maya performs “many women at the same time…whose laughter and mourning have become movement and beauty.” (Joaquín López Bustamante).
University Dance Company Spring Concert
Choreographers collaborate on a concert devoted to the roots of skiffle music to tie into the University Theatre performance of “One Man, Two Guvnors,” by Richard Bean. Skiffle is a British music genre based on African American popular music. UDC choreographers will honor the roots of skiffle in this concert. Classical ballet, jazz and contemporary dance will be performed.
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