Niagara University Theatre’s 2012 – 2013 season offers an exciting array of entertainment options to suit a variety of tastes.
Steven Braddock, director of Niagara University Theatre, said, “The entire season will be produced in the renovated William P. and Marie Leary Theatre in the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre—with the one exception of our annual collaboration with the Castellani Art Museum, where an art exhibit is especially curated for a readers’ theatre production.”
“This season,” Braddock continued, “you will find two Tony Award-winning musicals, three laugh-out-loud comedies by Neil Simon, Steve Martin (yes –that banjo strumming comedian) and Moliere, and a dark and lyrical mystery. In addition, our annual student-directed short play festival will offer comedies, dramas and everything in between. Also, our theatre student group, the NU Players, will test their wings by entirely producing a contemporary adult drama about the searing effect of war on relationships.”
“While many area theatres focus on producing one type of theatre – here at NU, our season of theatre is about variety and value. Now with our $3.1 million renovation two years behind us, our first-class facility can offer audience amenities like never before: a circular driveway drop off, a computerized box office, an elevator, air conditioning, listening devices, comfortable seats with arm and leg room, and an audience lounge for pre-show and intermission – complete with a photographic mural spotlighting dozens of NU Theatre productions from the 1960s through 2010.”
From Oct. 18 – 22, NU Theatre will present The Rimers of Eldritch. Directed by Braddock, this drama was an off-Broadway success for its playwright, the late Lanford Wilson, one of the most distinguished American playwrights of the 20th century. On the surface, The Rimers of Eldritch is a mystery, but beneath its skin, it is a probing look at the rhythms of Midwestern American life, compellingly rich, dark and lyrical. But be warned: this is not Norman Rockwell’s America. The drama contains mature subject matter and is not recommended for children.
From Nov. 8 – 18, Neil Simon’s hilarious farce, Rumors, will be presented. The production will be directed by adjunct speech professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe. A true 20th century master, Simon noted in an interview that this classic comedy was his first farce, inspired in part by Moliere’s comedies about wealthy people in outlandish situations.
As the comedy begins, four well-heeled couples arrive at the townhouse of a New York City deputy mayor and his wife who are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. He’s been shot in the head (only a flesh wound), she’s missing, and his attorney attempts a cover-up that reaches the point at which nobody can remember which image-conscious guest has told what about whom. Doors slam and hilarity abounds as the affair descends into chaos. The production contains adult language and is not suitable for children.
From Dec. 6 – 16, NU Theatre will present the hit Broadway production, Urinetown the Musical by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann. This Tony Award-winning tale of love, greed and revolution is directed by Braddock, with choreography by associate professor Terri Filips Vaughan and musical direction by vocal adjunct Jason Bravo. An irreverent homage to the great American musical theatre tradition, Urinetown the Musical is one of the most uproariously funny musicals ever to hit Broadway. The production satirizes capitalism, populism, bureaucracy, corporate corruption and municipal politics.
A horrendous water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government ban on private bathrooms. Citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by demanding payment for one of humanity’s most fundamental needs. From out of the destitute masses, a hero arises to lead his fellows against the tyrannical regime.
From Jan. 18 – 26, NU Theatre’s annual Short Play Festival makes for a fascinating dose of theatre — and a great entertainment bargain. Three cycles of 10-minute plays written by various playwrights will be presented over two consecutive weekends. Comedies, dramas and everything in between—our debut of nearly two dozen student-directors produces a smorgasbord of professionally published 10-minute plays. If one production is not to your taste, you only have to wait 10 minutes before the next one. (With some plays, adult situations and language may be an appropriate warning to anticipate.)
From Feb. 14 – 17, in collaboration with the Castellani Art Museum, NU Theatre will present Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin. This absurdly comic play about the relationship between art and science, talent and genius, will be directed by artist-in-residence/recruiter Adriano Gatto. This production will be performed at the Castellani Art Museum amidst a specially-curated art exhibit.
A celebrated comedian, musician, author and playwright, Steve Martin has created a not-to-be-missed comedy about two icons and their chance meeting. Einstein and Picasso walk into a bar… each on the verge of their greatest accomplishments, and a comically magical night ensues!
From Feb. 22 – 24, the NU Players will present an all student-designed and directed production of Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies. What’s the more perilous place? A combat zone or a long-term domestic relationship?
Both funny and heartbreaking, this timely drama examines war through the lens of a young couple brought together by the conflict in Iraq only to have their relationship challenged by it. The adult subject matter of the production is not suitable for children.
From March 21 – 26, Niagara University Theatre will present Moliere’s delightful French classic, The Learned Ladies, directed by Dr. C. Henrik Borgstrom, an associate professor of French and chair of Niagara University’s department of modern and classical languages. This timeless masterpiece, translated and adapted by Freyda Thomas, spotlights a well-to-do household that is thrown into comic upheaval when an imposter arrives.
A most unliterary matron is intent on turning her home into a bastion of learning. She becomes easy prey for an ingratiating con artist who passes himself off as a famous poet and becomes a permanent houseguest, much to the chagrin of her husband. Worse yet, the poet has set his sights on marrying one of their two beautiful daughters.
From April 18 – 28, Niagara University Theatre will present the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine fairytale musical Into the Woods. Associate professor Doug Zschiegner will direct the production, while Vaughan choreographs and music adjunct Randy Andropolis provides musical direction. The production premiered on Broadway in 1987 and, most recently, received critical acclaim at New York’s Central Park this past summer.
“Once upon a time?” “Happily ever after?” Not necessarily so in this musical with a moral about community responsibility and the stories we tell our children.
When a baker and his wife learn that they’ve been cursed by the witch next door and are unable to have children, they set out on a journey to break the spell. While on their quest, they encounter familiar characters from Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk. And while Act One plays out as “happy” fairytales do, Act Two serves as a reality check, dealing with consequences traditional fairytales leave out.
On April 27, the Friends of Niagara University Theatre will host the 28th annual Friends of Niagara University Theatre Gala including a 4 p.m. production of Into the Woods at the Leary Theatre within the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, and a cocktail reception, dinner and silent and live auction at the Niagara Falls Country Club. Tickets for the gala are $150 per person. For more information about the Gala, please contact Peg Lacki at 716.286.8483.
During the summer of 2013, NU Theatre will once again present free children’s theatre for the community. Our N.U.R.T. (Niagara University Repertory Theatre) troupe will present a rotating repertoire of children’s stories during July and August. Suitable for children ages 3-10, the N.U.R.T. troupe will perform in the air-conditioned Leary Theatre, and at Artpark in Lewiston. Dates and times for performances will be announced in the spring. Reservations are not required and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Also, the N.U.R.T. troupe will present a fully-staged theatre for youth production. Details about the productions will be announced in the spring.
For tickets and information, please call 716.286.8685 or visit the NU Theatre Box Office