Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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Drama Opens Four-Show Season Oct. 24, Headlining with Gershwin Musical and Ibsen Play

From soaring scores to slamming doors, the University of Virginia Department of Drama’s 2013-14 season will showcase a rousing musical, a classic play, a contemporary absurdist comedy and a timeless no-holds-barred farce.

The season kicks off Oct. 24 in the Culbreth Theatre with George and Ira Gershwin’s musical, “Crazy for You.” The Broadway classic is the story of Bobby Child, a 1930s playboy with a banking career in his future but show business in his heart. The musical features an abundance of familiar melodies such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

“Crazy for You” was billed as the “New Gershwin Musical Comedy” when it debuted in 1992 on Broadway, and also won the Tony Award that year. The musical is chiefly based on the legendary team’s 1930 “Girl Crazy,” and includes several songs from other Gershwin musicals.

The singing and dancing extravaganza, directed by drama professor Robert Chapel, will be presented Oct. 24 to 26 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

“This show is a virtual hit parade of classic Gershwin songs,” Chapel said. “It’s sort of the quintessential American comedy – which explains its tremendous success and wide appeal.”

One factor that inspired Chapel to bring “Crazy for You” to the stage was the particular array of student talent he saw around him this year. “It’s the right time to do this since we have in our midst some students who are accomplished tap dancers, which is an important element in this show,” he said.

Tickets are $16 ($14 for seniors, U.Va. staff and Alumni Association members, and $10 for students), and are available online at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu, by calling 434-924-3376 or in person weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama building.

The season’s second production will be U.Va. associate professor of drama Doug Grissom’s adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen classic drama, “An Enemy of the People.” The play is a cautionary tale about an entire community’s hunger for riches versus one man’s brave convictions.

Directed by U.Va. drama professor Richard Warner, the play will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre from Nov. 14 to 16 and Nov. 19 to 23 at 8 p.m. each day.

The season then takes a turn for the comically absurd with Tina Howe’s “Museum,” a sharp poke at how often, in the world of modern art, the patrons themselves are worth the price of admission.

The play takes place on the last day of an art exhibition where about 40 outlandish characters peruse the work of a trio of artists. Their reactions range from transfixed reverence to hopeless giggling and everything in between, while a nervous security guard tries in vain to keep the group under control.

“Museum,” directed by Grissom, will be presented in the Ruth Caplin Theatre from Feb. 20 to 22 and Feb. 26 to March 1.

George Feydeu’s “A Flea in Her Ear,” a classic 1907 French farce set in Paris at the dawn of the 20th century, will conclude this year’s U.Va. drama season.

A suspicious wife sets the wheels of drama in motion for a wild comedic ride that features mistaken identities, narrow escapes, a secret rendezvous, crazy coincidences and little lies that grow bigger by the minute. Before long, everyone is drawn into the vortex, and as with all intricately conceived classic farce, it becomes hard to imagine how the truth will ever emerge.

“A Flea in Her Ear” will be directed by Colleen Kelly, U.Va. associate professor of drama and director of the M.F.A. acting program. It will be presented in the Ruth Caplin Theatre April 17 to 19 and April 23 to 26.

Subscriptions for the drama season allow patrons the most flexible and inexpensive option for securing desired seats and dates. Subscribers receive priority access to seat reservations and fee-free ticket exchanges and replacements. Subscriptions are $50 ($43 for seniors, U.Va. faculty, staff and Alumni Association members, and $29 for students).

Subscriptions are available online at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu, by phone at 434-924-3376 or in person weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama building. A $3.75 processing fee applies to Internet, phone and mail orders.

Free parking for performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, located alongside the theaters.

For information on the 2013-14 season, visit www.virginia.edu/drama.

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