Theatre UCF’s 2012-13 season will offer musicals, dance, and plays featuring many contemporary works that include both modern and period settings. The university theatre has selected productions that will provide an education not only for the university students, but for the audiences, as well.
The schedule is filled with plays addressing topics of substance, including homosexuality, rape, disabilities, religion, deceit, and murder—social issues that have lost no relevance since the historic periods in which these plays are set.
“We select productions first for our students, then the university community, and for our public audiences,” says Christopher Niess, the Theatre Department chair and artistic director. “We provide student actors and designers, as well as our audiences, with compelling, diverse and relevant material that is being performed at regional theatres across the country. To avoid material that addresses darker social issues would be a disservice to our students.”
The formidable topics are balanced with intelligent scripts, popular scores, and a department of talented faculty members and students who are not afraid to bring these themes to the stage.
“Many of the works that challenge audiences to examine their beliefs also carry with them a wealth of beauty,” Niess said. “We witness beauty in the struggle to forge and maintain relationships between friends, family, and communities. This season contains not only the artistry found in the sets and costume design that audiences have come to expect from UCF, but beauty in the themes of love, lessons in compassion, and glimpses of significant historical periods within these plays.”
The fall semester starts with a week-long reprise of the summer’s classic murder mystery Deathtrap, then switches gears toward two contemporary productions in repertory. Stop Kiss by Diana Son and Good Boys and True by Roberto-Aguirre-Sacasa both feature a hate crime born out of a fear of homosexuality.
The fall musical, Side Show, is based on the real-life experiences of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. The sisters rise from a circus act to famous stage performers, but wonder if they will ever find love. The musical was nominated for four Tony Awards in 1998 and features a bright and fanciful score.
Zombie Town was presented at the 2011 PlayFest at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. The documentary-style play recounts a small town’s large problem with zombies. While the play comes with a lot of fun surprises and laughs, astute viewers may see parallels with another play of social significance: Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project.
The theatre takes a step back in time to open the spring semester with Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Set in 18th century France, the play’s designs will include opulent pannier dresses and period set design on the Main Stage.
“Christopher Hampton’s play Les Liaisons Dangereuses was nominated in 1987 for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award and it won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. The next year, the movie version won three Academy awards out of its seven nominations,” said director and UCF Theatre Professor Donald Seay. “This play, set in eighteenth century France, offers many challenging roles for Theatre UCF students and provides them with excellent training and experience in the performance of a particular period style.”
Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl is a modern interpretation of the myth of Orpheus, retold from the perspective of his wife. The play includes scenes from earth and Hades and is a designer’s playground.
“Eurydice is concise lyrical text that invites a magical and transformative environment,” said director Julia Listengarten.
“We imagine a shifting landscape of characters…a string of non-linear associations…a composition of scenic poetry…a river of rust, rocks, and reflections…the sounds of new rubber boots on wet stone,” said scenic designer Vandy Wood.
The spring musical will be Spring Awakening. The winner of eight Tony Awards, the controversial show is a frank look at sexuality, teen rebellion, and the journey from adolescence to adulthood.
For the final event of the academic year, the students in the dance program will present “With a Twist” the Seventh Annual Dance Concert. In 2013, half of the program will be choreographed by students, and the second half will feature dances to the music of Frank Sinatra, choreographed by Theatre UCF faculty members.
The shows for summer 2013 include a light comedy (Hooters), a musical (A Taffeta Wedding), and an edgy, humorous series of one-acts written by Ethan Coen (Almost an Evening).
The season creates many opportunities for partnership and collaboration, said Theatre UCF marketing director Heather Gibson. “Last year we held events with the UCF Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Music Departments. In the upcoming year we are hoping to continue these relationships, plus add new events with the School of Visual Arts and Design and Modern Languages.”
“We are also working on an event for Zombie Town with one of the student groups on campus. So you might want to keep your eyes open for a campus zombie invasion in late fall, said Gibson. “Most of our events are educationally focused; this one will lean more toward the side of ‘fun.’ And who doesn’t want a little levity near the end of the semester?”
Patrons will see some changes to the offerings for 2012-13. The season schedule has been shifted so that subscriptions start with the academic year and end with the summer. This pattern will align more closely with other performing arts venues. The summer shows for 2012 will be available as a three-show subscription, but will not be attached to other subscriptions. The 2012-13 subscription will include the shows for summer 2013.
Additionally, the theatre is adding a new pass to its regular subscription offerings. A Flex Pass will allow five admissions to productions over the course of the season, and will permit a patron to bring a friend by using up to two admissions per show. Seat reservations on this pass will be processed after traditional subscriptions and holders are not guaranteed a seat until validated. The pass does allow a patron all of the other benefits of a season subscription, including discounted admission, exchanges, and an invitation to the Season Subscriber Kick Off Reception.
Subscriptions are available now. Single tickets will be available May 1 for summer 2012 productions and on July 23 for the 2012-13 academic season.
Upcoming productions at a glance:
2012-13 Academic Season
Directed by Be Boyd
August 23-25 at 8 p.m.; August 26 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Be Boyd
Sept. 27-29, Oct. 10, 12 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Mark Brotherton
Oct 4-6, 11, 13 at 8 p.m.; October 7 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Earl Weaver
Oct. 25-27, Nov. 1-3 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 28, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Jim Helsinger
Nov. 15-17, 29, 30, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 17, 18, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Donald Seay
Jan. 17-19, 24-26 at 8 p.m.; Jan 20, 27 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Julia Listengarten
Feb. 21-23, Feb 28-March 2 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 24, March 3 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Josh Gold
March 21-23, 28-30 at 8 p.m.; March 24, 30 at 2 p.m.
Note: There will be no performance on Sunday, March 31 due to the Easter holiday.
Directed by Earl Weaver
April 18-20 at 8 p.m.; April 21 at 2 p.m.
June 6-8, 13-15 at 8 p.m.; June 9, 16 at 2 p.m.
June 20-22, 27-29 at 8 p.m.; June 23, 30 at 2 .pm.
July 11-13, 18-20 at 8 p.m.; July 14, 21 at 2 p.m.
Theatre UCF is on the university campus near the intersection of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail in east Orlando. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays.
To purchase tickets or for ticket information call the box office at 407-823-1500. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students, with subscription and group rates available. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, available through the Theatre UCF box office. UCF offers accommodations to make the theatre more accessible to patrons with disabilities—for assistance, please call the box office in advance.
Box Office Phone: 407-823-1500
Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday: noon to 5 p.m. and 2 hours before performances