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University Theatre announces 2014-15 season

Wed, 08/20/2014

LAWRENCE — With shows such as "A Raisin in the Sun" and "The Marriage of Figaro," University Theatre has announced a 2014-15 performance lineup that will entertain, educate and provoke as well as demonstrate the importance of educational theatre for the community.

The nine shows range from comedies and dramas to musicals and operas, including classic and contemporary works that provide a look at life’s common and extraordinary challenges and joys.

Theatre Lawrence and the KU School of Music will collaborate on “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Marriage of Figaro” respectively. Tickets for the full lineup will begin Monday, Aug. 25.

“The University Theatre has a distinctive place within our artistically rich community. It is the training ground for the next generation of theatre, film and television artists,” said Dennis Christilles, artistic director of University Theatre. “We regularly offer the work of young artists who are at the height of their training.”

The 2014-2015 season:

“Electra” by Sophocles
Adapted & directed by Dennis Christilles
Sept. 6
“Electra” follows the title character's quest with the help of her brother, Orestes, to avenge the death of their father at the hands of their mother and her lover. This production will be performed in both English and Greek. It was created as part of the 2014 KU Summer Theatre in Greece program and was performed in the ancient theatre of Oiniades. Following the performance, the cast members will host a talk to share their experiences in Greece.

“Proof” by David Auburn
Directed by Amanda Boyle
October 3, 4, 5*, 7, 8, 9, 2014
“Proof” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the nature of genius and the value of trust.

“Tovarich” by Jacques Deval, translated by Robert E. Sherwood
Directed by John Staniunas
Oct. 17, 18, 19*, 24, 25, 26*
“Tovarich” is a comedy that follows the plight of a Russian grand duchess and her charming husband living in exile in Paris. It is a sophisticated and farcical comedy of manners, disguise and revelation.

“The Big Meal” by Dan LeFranc
Directed by Peter Zazzali
Nov. 14, 15, 16*, 21, 22, 23*, 2014
Set in numerous unspecified restaurants in America, “The Big Meal” tells the expansive story of five generations of a modern family through one unending metaphoric meal. It is a theatrically innovative rendering of the universality of the American family.

“The Last Cyclist” by Karel Švenk, adapted by Naomi Patz
Directed by Rachel Blackburn & Gina Sandi-Diaz
Dec. 5, 6, 7*, 9, 10, 11
“The Last Cyclist” is a play within a play in which the inmates of a concentration camp rehearse an allegorical and darkly comic story in which bicyclists become a target for annihilation.

Black Box Productions
Projects & Directors TBA
Feb. 13, 14, 15*, 17, 18, 19, 2015
Now in its fifth year, Black Box Productions put the reins in the hands of the students. It’s their opportunity to direct, cast, rehearse and perform with a limited rehearsal schedule and budget.

“A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansbury
Directed by Nicole Hodges Persley
Feb. 27, 28, and March 1*, 6, 7, 8*, 2015
“A Raisin in the Sun” is, according to The New York Times, “The play that changed American theater forever.” It is unflinching in its vision of what happens to people whose dreams are constantly deferred. “A Raisin in the Sun” will be performed in conjunction with Theatre Lawrence’s “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris.

“Flora, the Red Menace”
Book by David Thompson, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by John Staniunas
April 10, 11, 12*, 14, 15, 16, 2015
“Flora, the Red Menace” was the first musical collaboration of the celebrated songwriting team behind later hits “Chicago” and “Cabaret.” Set against the Bohemian world of artists and activists in Depression-era New York, Flora tells of an optimistic and high-spirited young woman whose love life is complicated by the Communist Party.

“The Marriage of Figaro”
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Director TBA
April 24, 26*, 30, May, 2, 2015
Produced in cooperation with the School of Music and featuring the KU Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Neely. Like a great Shakespeare comedy, “The Marriage of Figaro” employs fully dimensional characters to poke fun at the human condition. The plot is filled with love, sex, betrayal, remorse and class warfare.

Unless noted, all performances are at 7:30 p.m. or *2:30 p.m. matinees.

For more information on the University Theatre, visit www.KUTheatre.com or follow KU Theatre on Twitter at @KU Theatre.



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Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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