ALLENTOWN, PA — Muhlenberg Muhlenberg College‘s nationally-ranked Theatre & Dance Department announces its 2013-2014 mainstage season. Highlights include works ranging from Shakespeare to Caryl Churchill, a biannual festival of student-written plays, and a murder mystery musical comedy.
The season features six fully mounted theatrical productions and three mainstage dance concerts, running from October 2013 to April 2014.
“This exciting season features the new and the newly imagined,” says Beth Schachter, newly-appointed chair of the department. “We are presenting world premieres and fresh versions of classics, spanning international topics and American issues through comedic and serious projects.”
The season begins with “New Voices,” Oct. 2-6, a new-play festival featuring the work of students and alumni. The festival features four world premiere plays, with Muhlenberg faculty member Matthew Moore as artistic director.
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” Oct. 25 through Nov. 3, directed by Charles Richter, is the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ final, unfinished novel, filled with mistaken identity, humor, and audience participation. And since the story is unfinished, the audience gets to vote at each performance on how the play will end.
“Moving Stories,” Nov. 14-16, features original choreography by the department’s upperclass dance majors, in a variety of genres and styles. The concert showcases dance as storytelling, narration in human form, addressing themes as broad ranging as the students’ own diverse backgrounds. Karen Dearborn serves as artistic director.
Shakespeare’s rarely produced “The Winter’s Tale,” Nov. 20-24, shows the Bard at his most brilliantly experimental. Director Troy Dwyer’s lean, quick-paced re-envisioning will feature original music and dance by Muhlenberg student artists.
“Master Choreographers,” Feb. 6-8, with artistic direction by Karen Dearborn, features seven works by faculty and guest artists, including a restaging of “D-Man in the Waters” by acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones. The “D-Man” performance will be the culmination of a residency by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, sponsored by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.
“The Learned Ladies,” Feb 20-23, directed by James Peck, is one of the most popular comedies of 17th century playwright Molière. A satire of academic pretention, the play will feature a faculty spotlight performance by Francine Roussel in the role of Belise.
The “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, March 19-23, will feature the work of three student theater artists. The festival includes: Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” directed by Ben Wald ’14; “butyou’reaman” a one-person show by Matt Dicken about his experience as a gay man visiting India; and “Still Life with Iris,” directed by Alex McKhann, Muhlenberg’s first mainstage student-directed children’s show.
“Dance Emerge,” April 10-13, showcases the ideas and talents of our brightest young choreographers. The intimate Dance Studio Theatre is the backdrop for innovative, explorative dance pieces. Artistic direction is by Corrie Franz Cowart.
Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest,” April 24-26, directed by Beth Schachter, is a play of romance and politics, bookended by weddings. Set during and after the 1989 Romanian Revolution, the play uses the tale of two families to evoke the internal psychological landscapes of people suffering under oppression. The production features a faculty spotlight performance by Holly Cate.
The mainstage performance series is produced by Muhlenberg College’s acclaimed Theatre & Dance Department, Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Muhlenberg’s production program in the top ten in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.
Discounts are available for packages of four or more productions. Tickets and information: 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre&dance