Productions

2019-2020 Production Season

The Production Committee is pleased to announce the Performing Arts Department’s 2019 - 2020 season.  We are grateful to colleagues and students who submitted titles for our consideration. The committee is once again proud to say that two of the four plays chosen were submitted by students.  In addition, this year’s selection process was enriched by the leadership of two student production committee members -- Nathan Lamp & Ebby Offord.  Their presence was critical in developing this season as they encouraged us to expand the range of titles we considered, as well as advocating effectively for their fellow students in all areas of production.

Our musical, Legally Blonde, has been a perennial submission by students.  Apart from the fact that it is just great good fun, advocates for the show have praised its “feminist” soul and its clever skewering of higher education.  Elle Woods has lost her man to Harvard Law!  In a bold bid to win him back, she charms her way into Harvard too, and what began as a revenge impulse blossoms into a delightful tale of realizing one’s full intellectual promise and potential. We think it’s a perfect introduction to the season, and an ideal fit for Parents and Family Weekend.  

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf is Ntozake Shange’s most noted and celebrated work.  Here again is a play that many of our students have wanted us to stage; Shange’s recent death in October of 2018 makes this an especially important time to consider her theatrical legacy. Shange described for colored girls as a choreopoem for its combination of poetry, music and dance.  Ben Brantley in the The New York Times describes the work this way: “The stories these women recite may be largely hard-luck tales, but there is undeniable triumph in the very act of the telling, in transforming grief and uncertainty into trenchant humor, dance and song.”  The opportunity this piece offers for Theater and Dance to work together on a project is especially exciting to everyone in the Performing Arts Department.

Men on Boats recounts the exhilarating story of John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers.  The history of this 19th Century journey may have been the exclusive domain of men, but Jaclyn Backhaus calls for casting “…radically diverse actors who are female identifying, trans-identifying, gender fluid, and/or non-gender conforming.”   This dynamic and very funny piece of writing is a provocative lens for re-examining an extraordinary American moment. 

Martyna Majok’s critically acclaimed 2016 play Ironbound sheds a stark light on the immigrant story here in the United States.  Darja is a struggling Polish factory worker and housekeeper living in contemporary Newark, New Jersey; she is trying to raise a son and find some small measure of love in this world.   The American Dream is harshly anatomized here, and yet somehow Majok takes this grim-sounding premise and transforms it into a theatrical wonder full of humor and hope.

We are thrilled about next year and hope you share our enthusiasm.  We welcome you to join us -- on, off or backstage!
 

2019-2020 Performances

A. E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival 

You Don't Live Here Anymore
Written by Elizabeth Brown
Directed by William Whitaker
Friday, September 27 at 7 p.m.

This House
Written by Kelly Minster
Directed by Henry I. Schvey
Saturday, September 28 at 2 p.m.

Mrs. Kelley's Igloo
Written by Sophie Tegenu
Directed by Paige McGinley
Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m.

All stages readings will be performed in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre.

Producer: Carter W. Lewis
Festival Assistant: Leah Witheiler
Guest Professional Dramaturg: Jenni Werner

Admission is Free and Open to the Public


Legally Blonde

Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin; book by Heather Hach
based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture
October 25, 26 & 27 and November 1, 2 & 3
Edison Theatre 
Director: Annamaria Pileggi

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Elle Woods has it all.  She is the president of her sorority, a Hawaiian Tropic Girl, Miss June in the campus calendar, and, above all, a natural blonde.  She dates the cutest fraternity boy on campus and wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. There is just one problem; Elle is too blonde.  After Warner breaks up with Elle and goes off to Harvard Law School, Elle follows him, determined to win him back. The ensuing journey takes her far from the life she has known and brings her to the realization that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

LEGALLY BLONDE

Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

www.MTIShows.com
 


for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

By Ntozake Shange
November 21, 22 23 & 24
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre
Director: Ron Himes

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The Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. From its inception in California in 1974 to its New York production at the New Federal Theatre and subsequent co-production with Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, for colored girls… has become a highly acclaimed critical success.  Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for "encompassing...every feeling and experience a woman has ever had," for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf is a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.

 

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.


Washington University Dance Theatre: COALESCENCE

Artistic Direction by David Marchant
December 6, 7 & 8
Edison Theatre

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The art of dance has historically been highly differentiated, with nation, culture, ethnicity, gender and class informing distinctions of genre. Over time, however, dance artists from all over the world have challenged such categories. Spaces where dance happens are also the places where we meet, connect, share and integrate our diverse human experience and tell our stories. Making dance requires people to collaborate on a live work of art. This process culminates when a yet wider community of people gather together to witness the live performance. Please join the dance artists of the PAD as we coalesce—to “grow together’’—through shared experience of human movement.

This annual showcase features diverse work by resident and guest choreographers, performed by select student dancers of the Performing Arts Department.


Men on Boats

By Jaclyn Backhaus
February 21, 22, 23, 28 & 29 and March 1
Edison Theatre
Director: Andrea Urice

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Men on Boats recounts the exhilarating story of John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers.  The history of this 19th Century journey may have been the exclusive domain of men, but Jaclyn Backhaus calls for casting “…radically diverse actors who are female identifying, trans-identifying, gender fluid, and/or non-gender conforming.”   This dynamic and very funny piece of writing is a provocative lens for re-examining an extraordinary American moment.

 

MEN ON BOATS is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.


MFA Student Dance Concert: MindScapes

Artistic Direction by Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal
March 21 
Edison Theatre 

This concert represents the completion of the MFA in Dance requirements for our third cohort students, Ashley Tate and Marcus Johnson.  It begins with a portrayal of life and the pull between the healthy mind and dementia. The dance represents a journey from the present, into the past, and towards the future.  This riveting tale of the remembered and the forgotten will draw you into a dance of a life well-lived yet fading away.   It is followed by a discovery of what it is to move through abstraction.  Flowing between the extremes of existence, oppositional forces are used to experiment with minimalism and expansion, extension and reduction, speed and stillness.  One dance focuses on the real while the other on the abstract.

Admission is Free and Open to the Public


WashU Dance Collective: Panorama

Artistic Direction by Cecil Slaughter
April 3 & 4
Edison Theatre

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Panorama features each choreographer’s personal interactions across the broad spectrum of contemporary culture through the artistry of dance.  Join us for an evening that creatively explores a variety of stimulating and thought provoking concepts. Panorama explores the artistry of dance as it reveals each choreographer’s inquiry into their own interactions with cultural dynamics.  Showcasing a spectrum of inventive presentations, insightful perspectives are revealed reflecting each choreographer’s experience.

 

As the Performing Arts Department’s repertory dance company, Washington University Dance Collective comprises student dancers who have auditioned and have distinguished themselves on the basis of ability, technical skill, and performance acumen.


Ironbound

By Martyna Majok
April 9, 10, 11 & 12
A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre
Director: Jeffery Matthews

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The setting is a bus stop late at night.  A lamp overhead sheds its light on an old flat tire, smashed beer cans, cigarette butts, and other bits of rubble left along the side of the road.  It also shines a light on the story of Darja, the Polish immigrant, factory worker/housekeeper who is trying to make her way in the world under very challenging circumstances.  This hard hitting, and wickedly humorous play jumps through time creating a striking portrait of a strong, yet flawed, woman looking for security and safety, amid the tense and tenuous relationships she endures with the difficult men in her life. 

 

IRONBOUND is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

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