From October through May, Niagara University Theatre’s 54th season of theatre is designed to challenge and inspire students, faculty, and patrons alike.

The season sets sail with Men on Boats (Oct. 12-16), by Jaclyn Backhaus and directed by Physical Theatre Adjunct, Trevor Copp. Based (loosely) on John Wesley Powell’s published record of the 1869 journey, “The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons,” this thrilling new play follows the one-armed explorer and his ridiculous band of followers through raging rapids of comedy. The male bluster and bravado of the archetypal adventurer gets a twist as all ten men are played by women. Contains mature themes and language.

From Nov. 2-12, the mirror will be held up to our very own natures as NU presents William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Director of NU Theatre Steven Braddock asks the questions with his directorial approach: What is the difference between a desire for leadership and a hunger for power? How does a swing toward populism change a political infrastructure? What would happen if drastic measures were taken in order to avoid a perceived shift in stability? What will we see in that mirror? And will we be able to live with it?

Mistaken identity and lonely-hearts correspondence with a touch of old world elegance! The Tony Award winning musical She Loves Me is performed on the Leary stage From Nov. 30-Dec. 10. Book by Joe Masterhoff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and directed by associate professor Doug Zschiegner, feuding employees in a Budapest perfumery despise each other at work but find solace from their solitude in romantic pen pal exchanges. The surprises stack up when the romantic puzzle pieces finally fit together.

Comedies, dramas and everything in between from Jan. 19-21 when NU presents its annual Short Play Festival – a smorgasbord of 10-minute, student directed plays. If one is not to your taste, you only have to wait 10 minutes until the next one. Some of the plays contain adult situations and language.

Audiences of all ages will delight in the comic antics of the Potato People in School Daze by the Canadian physical theatre company, Theatre Beyond Words. Combining European mask work with North American style animation, the Potato People are a series of non-verbal mask plays for family audiences that have toured internationally. Directed by physical theatre adjunct professor Robin Patterson and in collaboration with the Castellani Art Museum from Feb. 15-18, School Daze is about the adventures and experiences of the first day of school, and a mother who has difficulty letting go.

From Feb. 23-25, the NU Players present a student-produced production of Recent Tragic Events by Craig Wright. This dizzying and thought-provoking play explores the question of whether our lives are shaped by free will or random unconnected events. This play takes place with a blind date on September 12, 2001. Contains mature themes and language.

The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca, onstage March 22-26, is being directed by associate professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe. Following the death of her husband, formidable matriarch Bernarda Alba will do anything to protect her family’s fortune and the future of her five daughters. A deal is struck — a marriage of convenience between her eldest girl and the son of a business rival…but will the wedding happen? Contains mature themes and language.

Murder. Greed. Corruption. Violence. Exploitation. Adultery. Treachery. NU Theatre tops off its 54th season with dynamic production of Chicago from April 19-29, directed by Braddock, choreographed by Natalie Slipko, and music directed by Bridget Moriarty.

Set amidst the delicious decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, housewife and aspiring nightclub dancer who murders her lover and transforms her malicious misconduct into sensational headlines suggestive of today’s tabloids.

On Saturday, April 28, the Friends of Niagara University Theatre will host the 33rd Annual Friends of Niagara University Theatre Gala including a 4 p.m. production of Chicago at the Leary Theatre within the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, and a cocktail reception, dinner and silent and live auction immediately following. Tickets for the gala are $150 per person or $175 per person (Gala patrons). For more information about the gala, please contact Niagara University Theatre at 716.286.8483.

During the summer of 2018, NU Theatre will once again present free children’s theatre for the community. The 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 in the Western New York community. In addition, NU Theatre will continue its tradition of presenting a free theatre-for-youth production. Locations, dates and times for performances will be announced in the spring.

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