Muhlenberg Theatre and Dance Department

Allentown, Pa. (Sept. 6, 2010) – The Muhlenberg Theatre and Dance 2010-2011 Season opens Oct. 6. The season will include six theater productions and three dance concerts. Highlights include the mainstage musical “The Pajama Game,” opening Oct. 29, and a new dance theater adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” opening March 31, 2011.

“It’s an exciting, diverse season,” says James Peck, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance and associate professor of theater, who will direct the final show of the season. “It spans a broad range of styles and genres, from intimate black-box productions to large-scale song-and-dance musicals, and from student-choreographed explorations to professionally created, formal dance compositions. I hope you’ll join us.”

The season is as follows:

Theater:
– “Polaroid Stories” — Oct. 6-10
– “The Pajama Game” — Oct. 29 through Nov. 7
– “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” — Dec. 1-5
– “La Dispute” — Feb. 24-27
– “The Tempest” — March 31 through April 3 (a dance theatre production)
– “Orlando” — April 28 through May 1

Dance:
– “Moving Stories” — Nov. 18-20
– “Master Choreographers” — Feb. 10-12
– “Dance Emerge” — April 14-17

Polaroid Stories
Oct. 6-10, 2010

Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance
By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Zach Trebino, Class of 2011

Times: Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 6-8, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 9, at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 10, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8. For mature audiences.
   
A visceral blend of classical mythology and real-life stories told by street kids, “Polaroid Stories” journeys into a dangerous world where myth-making fulfills a fierce need for transcendence, where storytelling has the power to transform a reality in which characters’ lives are continually threatened and devalued. Not all the stories they tell are true; some are lies, wild yarns, clever deceits, baroque fabrications. But whether or not a homeless youth invents an incredible history for himself isn’t the point, explains one diarist-of-the-street: “All these stories and lies add up to something like the truth.” Inspired in part by Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” “Polaroid Stories” takes place on an abandoned pier on the outermost edge of a city, a way-stop for dreamers, dealers and desperadoes. The play is their story — heartbreaking and celebratory, all at once.

The Pajama Game
Oct. 29 through Nov. 7, 2010

Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell
Based on the Novel “71/2 Cents,” by Richard Bissell
Directed by Charles Richter
Choreographer, Karen Dearborn
Musical Director, Ken Butler

Times: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-30, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 3-5, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 6, at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $20; youth 17 and under, $8. For all ages.
   
From Broadway’s Golden Age comes a classic song-and-dance musical by the creators of “Damn Yankees,” about love behind the picket lines.

Conditions at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful, as sparks fly between new superintendent Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams, leader of the union grievance committee. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a 7-and-a-half-cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.

Winner of three Tony Awards in 1955, including Best Musical, and two more in 2006, including Best Revival, “The Pajama Game” features such memorable hit songs as “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.” But every number makes a splash in this jazzy, snazzy musical.

Moving Stories
Nov. 18-20, 2010

Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance
Artistic Director, Sarah Carlson

Times: Thursday and Friday, Nov. 18-19, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8.

“Moving Stories” features original choreography by the department’s senior dance majors, in every genre and style. This is dance as storytelling, narration in human form, addressing themes as broad-ranging as the students’ own diverse backgrounds. Some of their pieces are introspective, some lighthearted, some cheerful, some profound; all represent the work of talented students finding expression in collaboration and movement.

The American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance. Witness the creations of talented young choreographers from one of the top collegiate dance programs in the country.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Dec. 1-5, 2010

Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Beth Schachter

Times: Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 1-3, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4, at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8. For mature audiences.
   
In the precinct of Hope, in downtown Purgatory, a trial has begun to determine the culpability of one of our most notorious villains: the betrayer of Jesus himself, Judas Iscariot. A parade of famous and infamous figures takes the stand: Mother Theresa, Sigmund Freud, Satan, Pontius Pilate (who pleads the Fifth). They debate with the two lawyers — defense attorney Fabiana Aziza Cunningham and prosecutor Yusef El-Fayoumy — arguing their points with a ferocious combination of biblical metaphor and urban trash-talk.

Guirgis’ scathing examination of faith, free will, and forgiveness explodes with unforgettable characters – cultural icons that appear not as figures in a storybook but as folks trying to cope with the big questions, when no big answers are forthcoming.

Master Choreographers
Feb. 10-12, 2011

Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts
Artistic Director, Karen Dearborn

Times: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 10-11, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 12, at 2 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8.

A spectacular evening of ballet, contemporary dance, tap and jazz, “Master Choreographers” showcases exciting new dance works choreographed by nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.

This season’s “Master Choreographers” concert will feature works by: Charles O. Anderson, artistic director of the Philadelphia-based dance theatre X; Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; Trinette Singleton, protégé of ballet icon Robert Joffrey; and New York-based multidisciplinary performance artist Nicole Wolcott. The evening also will feature a live musical performance by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group.

La Dispute
Feb. 24-27, 2011

Baker Theatre
By Pierre de Marivaux
Directed by Francine Roussel

Times: Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 24-26, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8. For mature audiences.

What would happen if you raised four children, two boys and two girls, in complete isolation from each other and the rest of the world — and then introduced them to one another? Would they fall in love? Promise their loyalty? How long would it take before the betrayals began? And who would be first to stray: — the women or the men?

Just such an experiment is at the heart of Marivaux’s mischievous 1744 comedy “La Dispute.” Things start out well enough; the four subjects pair off, fall in love, and swear their eternal devotion. But all too soon, the couples face their first temptations. Marivaux’s philosophical tale is wild and charming, profound and subversive, with a wit and flair for language that delights modern audiences.

The Tempest
March 31 through April 3, 2011

Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts
By William Shakespeare
A new dance theatre adaptation by Charles O. Anderson & Troy Dwyer
Faculty Performance Spotlight: Holly Cate as Prospero

Times: Thursday, March 31, through Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8.

Shakespeare’s fantasia of magic, power and revenge finds new inspiration in this world premiere dance theatre adaptation. Twelve years ago, the sorceress Prospero was overthrown and cast adrift by her rapacious brother, Antonio. She washed up on the shore of a remote island, with just three souls for company: her beguiling child Miranda; Ariel, a mischievous sprite; and the bitter “monster” Caliban. When Antonio strays near the island, Prospero conjures a perfect storm to wreck his ship and exact her vengeance. But the vessel crashes ashore bearing much more than Prospero could have anticipated.

The creative team behind 2009’s groundbreaking “Caw” reinvent one of the great stories of the theatre, featuring some of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters in a bold and incisive new dance theatre production.

Dance Emerge
April 14-17, 2011

Dance Studio Theatre
Artistic Director, Corrie Cowart

Times: Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 16, at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8.

The intimate Dance Studio Theatre is the backdrop for some of the most innovative, imaginative, explorative dance you’ll see. Spanning every genre from classical to hip-hop, “Dance Emerge” showcases the ideas and talents of our brightest young choreographers. This concert provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of dance composition, as well as exploring themes of culture, society and life in the medium of dance.

The choreographers whose work is chosen for “Dance Emerge” spend a semester devoted to finding and polishing the essence of the pieces they will present. The work that arrives on the stage is mature, insightful, proficiently crafted and expertly performed.

Orlando
April 28 through May 1, 2011

Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance
By Virginia Woolf
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by James Peck

Times: Thursday through Saturday, April 28-30, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 1, at 7 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $15; youth 17 and under, $8.

“It is enough for us to state the simple fact: Orlando was a man till the age of thirty, when he became a woman and has remained so ever since.” Virginia Woolf’s acclaimed, vaguely autobiographical novel defies easy description, but this is its premise. After a couple hundred years at the edges of history, an English nobleman awakens one morning to discover that he has become a woman.

Adapted by MacArthur Award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, “Orlando” spans four centuries in pursuit of its memorable central figure. Funny and bittersweet, literate but highly accessible, the play examines the options available to men and women in the arenas of literature and romance, and invites us to ask what we mean when we talk about identity, gender, poetry, and love.

Guest artist performances:

Je Suis Dead
By Fool’s Proof Theatre
Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m.

Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance
Free Admission

Fool’s Proof Theatre is an international company based in Liverpool, founded in 2005 by Ben Phillips (UK), Britt Jurgensen (Germany), and Mary Pearson (USA). “Je Suis Dead,” which they will present Sept. 21 at Muhlenberg, is the company’s second piece in a proposed trilogy about identity and the invisible ties that bind us.

Three modern day people are thrown together in the aftermath of a near fatal train crash. Yet unbeknown to them the crash also brings back to life other parts of themselves, which manifest as strange characters from the past each with their own story to tell. In the midst of it all the three strangers are forced to deal with their rapidly changing perceptions of reality.

“Je Suis Dead” is a thought provoking exploration of the multiple selves existing in each of us, and the interconnectedness of the stories we contain. Recommended for ages 16 and up.

Urban Bush Women
Monday, March 14, 2011, at 8 p.m.

Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts
Tickets: $15

Urban Bush Women, founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance. They do this from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond. They do this by facilitating the use of art as a means of addressing issues of social justice and encouraging civic engagement.

This year, Muhlenberg is proud to host Urban Bush Women as Baker Artists-in-Residence. The company will serve as guest artists for the American College Dance Festival, Northeast Regional Conference, on campus March 9-12.

Box Office Information

Subscription rates are available for tickets to four or more performances in the season, at a price of $12 per ticket. For the entire nine-show season, the price is $99 for adults, $63 for youth ages 17 and under.

Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more, at $15 for “The Pajama Game” and $13 for all other shows. Group leaders should contact boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu or 484-664-3087. Payment in full is due two weeks before the show.

The box office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m, for sales by phone, at 484-664-3333, or in person, in the box office lobby of the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours a day, at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/tickets.

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