Theatre UCF, part of the UCF School of Performing Arts, examines current social issues and focuses on new and contemporary plays in its 2017-18 season. This is the first season planned by artistic director Julia Listengarten and it includes plays and musicals that are rarely produced in Central Florida.
Listengarten is a professor of Theatre in the UCF School of Performing Arts and stepped into the role of artistic director last fall. “This year’s season contains an exciting combination of plays and musicals that range from the classical repertoire to contemporary works,” she said. “Our selection process continues to reflect the theatre department’s mission of exposing students to various theatrical genres and styles during their four-year cycle at UCF.”
Listengarten wanted to focus on current issues that our society grapples with, while maintaining that exposure to various styles and genres, and was able to do that via a retelling of a classic Greek myth, a 1930s musical satire, and even a new play.
“As we continue to offer a balance of classical and contemporary theatre, we are also thrilled to focus on new play development through producing new work. We believe that the wide range of the upcoming season will provide both educational an entertaining opportunities to our audiences and students,” says Listengarten.
The summer season began this month with a modern day classic, James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter. Running June 8-18 on the UCF Main Stage, this comedic drama tells the story of a royal family competing to inherit a kingdom during Christmas of 1183. The play features UCF faculty members Kate Ingram and Mark Brotherton in the cast and it is directed by Cynthia White.
Seminar by Theresa Rebeck runs June 29-July 9 and returns to kick off the academic year Aug. 24-27. The story focuses on four young novelists studying under a recklessly brilliant, international literary figure performed by UCF faculty member Earl D. Weaver. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting comedy. Seminar will be directed by Listengarten.
In September, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, an adaptation of a classic Greek tragedy by Ellen McLaughlin, opens in the Black Box. The adaptation, running Sept.14-24, is a three-play cycle retelling the fall of the House of Atreus. “We’ll examine the oppression of both females and males in a white patriarchy and in a time of war,” said director Elizabeth Horn.
The fall musical is an all-American romance featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, Of Thee I Sing. This musical was the first to win the Pulitzer Prize and is hilarious, timeless and relevant now as ever, in a year following a dramatic election campaign. This musical will run Oct. 12-22 in the Main Stage and is directed by Mark Brotherton.
Winner of the 2014 OBIE Award for Best New American Play, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon will run in the Black Box Nov. 9-19. The play is a reframing of Dion Boucicault’s play The Octoroon. Taking place on a plantation, this play explores issues of race and oppression and will be directed by David Reed.
To start the new year, David Edgar’s play Pentecost will be performed on the Main Stage. A dramatic struggle of art history, religion and politics, this powerful play by the Tony Award-winning adaptor of Nicholas Nickleby won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play of 1995. Pentecost runs Jan. 25-Feb. 4. It will be directed by Christopher Niess, who also co-directed Edgar’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby in 2014.
A new play based on the events around the November 2015 terrorist attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, The Day Before Yesterday runs in the Black Box Feb. 22-March 4. The play chronicles the lives of three couples over the course of 72 hours through their experience before, during and after the attack. It will be directed by Cynthia White, who is also the director of new play development for the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.
The spring musical is Michael John LaChiusa’s Bernarda Alba with an all-female cast, running March 22-31 on the Main Stage. Directed by Julia Listengarten and choreographed by Earl D. Weaver, it is a musical counterpart to the 1936 Federico García Lorca masterpiece The House of Bernarda Alba and shines through pulsing castanets, trilling Spanish guitars and resounding rhythmic stomps.
UCF returns to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the fourth annual UCF Celebrates the Arts in April. More specifics will be released in January, but save the dates now: April 6-14.
Tickets for performances on the UCF campus are available for $20 to the general public, and $10 for students and those with a valid UCF I.D. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theatre.cah.ucf.edu, by phone at 407-823-1500 or at the box office on campus. Season subscriptions are also available.
On opening night of every Theatre UCF production on the UCF campus, audience members are invited to join the cast and production team for a post-show reception. Please check theatre.ucf.edu for announcements about pre- and post-show discussions and lobby displays.
Productions at a glance:
The Lion in Winter
By James Goldman
June 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m.
June 11, 18 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Cynthia White
A modern day classic with sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons
Comedic in tone, dramatic in action, the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family who is locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom. The queen, and wealthiest woman in the world, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been kept in prison since raising an army against her husband, King Henry II. The play centers around the inner conflicts of the royal family as they fight over both the kingdom as well as King Henry’s paramour during Christmas 1183. As Eleanor, who is released from prison only for holidays, says, “Every family has its ups and downs,” and this royal family is no exception.
$20 standard, $10 UCF ID
By Theresa Rebeck
June 29, 30, July 1, 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m.
July 2, 9 at 2 p.m.
August 24, 25, 26 at 7:30 p.m.
August 27 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Julia Listengarten
Innocence collides with experience in this biting comedy
Four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.
Iphigenia and Other Daughters
Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin
September 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m.
September 17, 24 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Elizabeth Horn
A modern retelling of the fall of the House of Atreus.
It follows the children of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, siblings who are both players in the family tragedy and victims of it. The cycle of blood and vengeance seems inescapable until the final reunion of a lost sister and brother brings the bloody family saga to its mystical end.
Of Thee I Sing
Book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
October 12, 13 14, 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m.
October 15, 22 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Mark Brotherton
The first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize
This all-American political satire focuses on the election campaign and Presidency of John P. Wintergreen, whose party, lacking a viable platform, runs on love, promising that if elected he will marry the partner chosen for him at an Atlantic City beauty pageant. When he falls for the wrong woman, trouble begins! With politicians skewered right and left, Of Thee I Sing is a hilarious and timeless send-up of national institutions that is as relevant now as ever.
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
November 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30 p.m.
November 12, 19 at 2 p.m.
Directed by David Reed
Winner of the 2014 OBIE Award for Best New American Play
Judge Peyton is dead and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful octoroon. But the evil overseer M’Closky has other plans—for both Terrebonne and Zoe. In 1859, a famous Irishman wrote this play about slavery in America. Now an American tries to write his own.
“[A] wildly imaginative new work by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. AN OCTOROON simultaneously gives us [Dion Boucicault’s] great melodrama and its contemporary reverberations. [The play] might induce vertigo, but it insists that making theater can be the best way to talk back to history.” —The Village Voice
By David Edgar
January 25, 26, 27, February 1, 2, 3
January 28, February 4 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Christopher Niess
This powerful play by the Tony Award winning adaptor of Nicholas Nickleby and author of numerous plays won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play of 1995.
A fresco that could revolutionize Western Art is unearthed in an abandoned church in Eastern Europe. The discovery causes a dramatic struggle as representatives from the worlds of art history, religion, and politics stake their claims for the ultimate prize. The unexpected arrival of twelve refugees sets events spiraling toward an explosive climax.
The Day Before Yesterday
A New Play by Israel Horowitz
February 22, 23, 24, 28, March 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m.
February 25, March 4 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Cynthia White
Based around the terrorist attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, The Day Before Yesterday chronicles the lives of three couples over the course of 72 hours, from before the attack when they were strangers living in Paris, Miami and Brooklyn, to the next morning when they collectively take refuge at a nearby apartment.
Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa
Based on the play The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca
March 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m.
March 25, 31 at 2 p.m. (Note Saturday matinee due to the Easter holiday)
Directed by Julia Listengarten
Choreography by Earl D. Weaver
A musical counterpart to Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1936 masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba
A perfect show for a strong female cast, Bernarda Alba is a masterwork by Michael John LaChiusa, who has brought us such critically acclaimed hits as The Wild Party and Marie Christine. LaChiusa brings a musical voice to Federico Garcia Lorca’s final 1936 masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba, through pulsing castanets, trilling Spanish guitars and resounding rhythmic stomps.
Bernarda Alba tells the tales of a powerful matriarch, who imposes a strict rule on her household following her second husband’s funeral: “Not a breath of outside air is going to enter this house. It’s going to feel like we’ve bricked up the doors and windows,” she proclaims. Bernarda’s five daughters, however, struggle with her cold wishes. The girls’ dreams and desires challenge their mother’s harsh rules and the outside world begins to slowly permeate their isolated existence.
UCF Celebrates the Arts 2018
The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts comes alive with a showcase of UCF music, visual arts, theatre, and collaborative events.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando