Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 34th Theatrical Season

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA—The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2014 summer season — the 34th in the festival’s history. The season will feature the groundbreaking 1970s musical “A Chorus Line,” Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” and “Gruff!” a new musical for young audiences.

“A Chorus Line” opens the summer season, June 11-29. The Tony Award-winning best play of 1975, and one of the longest-running plays in Broadway history, “A Chorus Line” delves into the lives of 17 dancers auditioning for eight spots in the chorus of a Broadway musical. SMT artistic director Charles Richter directs the production.

“Spamalot” — the zany Monty Python musical comedy adapted from the classic movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” — runs July 9-27. Directed by James Peck, the show parodies the legend of King Arthur and his band of haphazard knights as they sing and dance their way through a ridiculous divine quest.

“Gruff! A New Family Musical… with Goats!” runs June 18 through July 26. In this interactive and puppet-filled musical, a young goat leaves the junkyard for the first time and stumbles into the fantastical land of the trolls. The show is a new creation of the neo-vaudeville theater group Doppelskope, and is recommended for ages 4 and up.

Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/SMT and 484-664-3693.

“A Chorus Line” takes the audience behind the scenes of an unnamed Broadway musical, and into the minds and lives of 17 Broadway hopefuls in the midst of a soul-baring audition. As the ranks thin, the auditioners face the realities of life, love, and a career in show business. “A Chorus Line” features such memorable numbers as “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.”

The Broadway production of “A Chorus Line” garnered numerous awards when it premiered in 1975, including the Tony Awards for best musical, best book, and best score. Charles Richter directs the production. Michael Schnack is musical director, and Muhlenberg dance program chair Karen Dearborn choreographs.

The Muhlenberg premiere of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” features “some of the funniest antics introduced on a Broadway stage,” according to USA Today. The show is “lovingly ripped off” from the classic 1975 film by beloved British comedy troupe “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” King Arthur and his knights embark on an ill-fated quest for the Holy Grail, dodging giant wooden rabbits, obnoxious Frenchmen, and a death-defying limbless knight along the way. James Peck directs. Justin Brehm serves as musical director. Sammy Reyes choreographs the production.

In the world-premiere family musical “Gruff!” a young goat learns the wonder of the natural world, and a new adventure begins, in which trolls and goats learn to live and play together. This innovative take on the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff is the work of Doppelskope, a neo-vaudeville theatre ensemble that creates original works featuring puppetry, magic, and clowning. Gruff is directed by Ora Fruchter, with music written by Ora Fruchter and Toby Singer. It is appropriate for ages four and up.

A sensory-friendly performance of “Gruff!” will be presented Saturday, June 28, at 1 p.m. The performance will feature lighting and sound design conducive to children with autism and other sensory processing difficulties; a cast meet-and-greet and orientation before the performance; an open house and available sensory stories in advance of the performance; and facilities available for children who need time away from the performance. Tickets are provided at a discounted rate of $5. For reservations and information about the sensory-friendly performance, please contact general manager Jess Bien at 484-664-3087.

An accessible performance will be presented during the SMT season, featuring audio description for patrons with visual impairments and open captioning for patrons with hearing difficulties. Details are still pending; however, the performance will take place on a Sunday at 2 p.m. Call 484-664-3087 for information.

“A Chorus Line” runs June 11-29; “Spamalot” runs July 9-27. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “A Chorus Line” and “Spamalot” are as follows. For the first four performances: regular admission tickets are $33; seniors are $29; students and children are $18. For the remaining 11 performances, beginning Sunday of opening weekend; regular admission tickets are $39; seniors are $36; students and children are $20.

“Gruff!” runs June 18 through July 26. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Gruff!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333. Information on group discounts, subscriptions, and family matinee discounts is available on the website.

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The Audience Decides The Outcome Of ‘The Mystery Of Edwin Drood,’ Opening Oct. 25 At Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rupert Holmes’ Tony Award-winning musical calls on the audience to determine the ending to Dickens’ unfinished murder mystery

Allentown, PA – An ensemble of 37 actors will enlist the audience’s help to finish the story of Charles Dickens’ final novel, when the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” opens at Muhlenberg College, Oct. 25.

Composer Rupert Holmes’ Tony Award-winning musical presents Dickens’ murder mystery as a play within a play. The world of Victorian music hall and melodrama is the backdrop for the exploits of the Theatre Royale, whose actors attempt to complete the unfinished story.

The musical plays Oct. 25 through Nov. 3 in Muhlenberg’s Empire Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts.

“‘Drood’ appeals to me because of the show’s wild spirit,” says Muhlenberg theater professor Charles Richter, who directs the production. “Hopefully our production will capture that whimsical essence.”

The play’s most whimsical and most challenging element is its ending: there isn’t one. When the actors of the Theatre Royale reach the point in the story when Dickens laid down his pen for good, they turn to the audience to determine how the story will end. Who turns out to be the murderer? It’s up to the audience.

In fact, patrons have four decisions to make about the outcome of the play. They must select a murderer, a detective in disguise, and a pair of lovers. There are hundreds of possible permutations — and the cast must be ready for any of them.

“The main hook of the show is that the audience determines what will happen,” Richter says. “As far as I know, that makes ‘Drood’ unique among musicals.”

All those extra endings make for extra work for the cast, who will prepare an entire hour of material for potential endings, much of which may never be performed. Senior Stefanie Goldberg, who plays Drood, says she expects some fierce but good-natured competition among the cast to turn the voting in their favor. After all, the “winners” get to perform an extra song at the end of the show.

“I think it’s a different process for everyone, because there are so many different layers with which to work,” Goldberg says. “It’s a challenge for any actor. It’s just as exciting for us as it is for the audience.”

Dickens began writing “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in 1870 but died the same year. The novel was to be published in 12 installments, but he completed only six, leaving his readers on the edge of their seats. Subsequent authors and playwrights, including Dickens’ son, tried to complete the story, without success.

Fast-forward 100 years or so; pop composer Rupert Holmes rediscovered the mysterious unfinished novel. Having spent his childhood in London, Holmes was familiar with the style of British Musical Hall performances. He used his own childhood experiences at the theater and his growing interest for the novel to build the musical version of “Drood.”

Best known for his 1970s hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” Holmes says he undertook the project because he was looking for a challenge.

“I’d been a relatively successful pop songwriter, I’d done a couple albums with Barbra Streisand,” he says. “And I was looking at that time in my life to try to write something that wasn’t three-and-a-half minutes with a fade ending — something more expansive. I was reading the novel, and I said, ‘You know, there’s a musical in this.'”

“Drood” premiered in 1986 at the New York Shakespeare Festival, where it ran for two years. It was revived on Broadway in 2012 at the Roundabout Theatre Company. Winner of five Tony awards in 1986 and nominated for five for the recent revival, the show features zany show-stopping musical numbers, and over-the-top comedy.

The production features musical direction by Ed Bara and choreography by Jeffrey Peterson. Conductor Vince Di Mura leads an 18-piece orchestra that will round out the show’s Music Hall sensibility.

The show features a 19th century British Music Hall-inspired set by Tim Averill with elaborate scenic painting designed by Emily Baldasarra. Nicole Wee designs costumes. Susan Hamburger serves as lighting designer.

All productions are performed at Muhlenberg College, one of the top-rated college performance programs in the country according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” runs Oct. 25 through Nov. 3 in the Empire Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Opening-weekend performances, Oct. 25-27, are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Second-week performances, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $8 for students and children. Special rates are available for groups, subscribers, and LVAIC students and employees.

Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or 484-664-3333.

Broadway Musical – Spring Awakening Sept 26 – Oct 13 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577Contains mature themes, sexual content, and adult language

Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, 4 Drama Desk Awards, and 4 Olivier Awards including Best Musical, “Spring Awakening” explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion you’ll never forget.  It’s a powerful celebration of youth and self-discovery in a world of unresponsive adults.  A rock and folk musical adaptation of the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 expressionistic play about the trials, tribulations, and exhilaration of the teen years, Spring Awakening features “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade”. (Entertainment Weekly)

For more details, click here.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 33rd Theatrical Season

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, Pa. —The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre festival at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 2013 summer season — the 33rd in the festival’s history. The season will feature “Crazy for You,” the musical based on the music of George and Ira Gershwin; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”; and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s “Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss musical for young audiences.

Opening the summer season is “Crazy for You,” June 12-30, winner of the 1992 Tony Award for best musical. Based on the music of George and Ira Gerswhin, “Crazy for You” features some of the best-loved Gershwin tunes, as well as virtuoso tap dance numbers, choreographed by Karen Dearborn.

The groundbreaking rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” featuring lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, runs July 10-28. Directed by James Peck, the show dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus. Former Muhlenberg dance professor Charles O. Anderson choreographs the production.

“Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss Musical, runs June 19 through July 27, presented in a special hour-and-15-minute Young Audiences edition. This show brings a slew of popular Dr. Seuss characters to the stage, with music and lyrics by Tony Award-winning songwriting duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. “Seussical” is recommended for ages 4 and up.

Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT and at 484-664-3693.

“Crazy for You” is the story of Bobby Child, a well-to-do 1930s playboy, whose dream in life is to dance—and despite the serious efforts of his mother and soon-to-be-ex-fiancée, Bobby achieves his dream. Full of showgirls, tap dancing, and mistaken identity, this musical comedy features the classic Gershwin tunes  “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

The Broadway production of “Crazy for You” garnered numerous awards when it premiered in 1992, including the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Costume Design. Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre founding artistic director Charles Richter directs the production. Ed Bara is musical director, and Karen Dearborn is choreographer.

The Muhlenberg premiere of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus, from his entry into Jerusalem through his crucifixion. With a lively score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this hit musical gained prestige in its 1972, 2000, and 2012 Broadway productions. MSMT veterans James Peck and Ken Butler serve as director and musical director, respectively.

Former Muhlenberg faculty member Charles O. Anderson returns to choreograph “Superstar.” Anderson was named one of “25 to Watch” in 2008 by Dance Magazine, and his work has been presented at high-profile regional venues around the country.

“Seussical,” the Dr. Seuss Musical, the Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life an assortment of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved characters, including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, the lazy bird Mayzie, and Jojo, a little boy with a big imagination.

This hour-and-15-minute Young Audiences edition of “Seussical” is directed by Benjy Shaw, with musical direction by David Dabbon and choreography by Nina Pongratz. It is appropriate for ages four and up.

“Crazy for You” runs June 12-30; “Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “Crazy for You” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are as follows. For the first four performances: $32 regular admission; seniors are $28; students and children are $18. For the remaining 11 performances: $38 regular admission; seniors are $35; students and children are $20.

“Seussical” runs June 19 through July 27. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only.  All tickets to “Seussical” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances.

Sundays are Family Matinee Day; mainstage tickets for children ages 5-18 are just $10 when purchased with a full-price or senior ticket. (Limit two discounted tickets per full-price ticket.)

Subscriptions to “Crazy for You” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are available for $50 for the first four shows, or $60 for the remaining 11 shows. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Audio Description for patrons who are visually impaired will be available at the Sunday, June 23, performance of “Crazy for You.” Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of this performance.

Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.

Pottstown Designer Awaits Tony Awards Night

To create the set for the Broadway smash Newsies, Pottstown resident Tobin Ost served multiple masters: a choreographer who needed space for his performers to dance, a director who envisioned a jungle-gym effect, a writer who moved the action from scene to scene, and producers who worried about the box office.

So the scenic designer crafted a tiered, tic-tac-toe metalscape that separates, recedes and rotates. Performers dance up, down, and through it during a musical set in turn-of-the-century New York.

For his efforts, Ost has been nominated for a Tony Award.

“I tried hard to ignore it when the announcements were coming out. I just didn’t want to have any assumptions,” Ost, 38, said of hearing the news “Then, my partner called and he was crying for joy.”

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20120528_Pottstown_designer_awaits_Tony_Awards_night.html#ixzz1wBN7Cnqs
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Final Performances Of “The Crucible”

Persecution of witches

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Join Us This Weekend for the LAST 4 PERFORMANCES – THE CRUCIBLE – Tonight, Saturday & Sunday
 
~ Powerful Performances… Riveting” – Pottstown Mercury

 

A Tony Award Winner for Best Play, this exciting drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in Salem is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife’s arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie – and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted.

For tickets and more information: http://www.facebook.com/l/6abd0BhIRJYy6KOu-9aKCzIRe9g/www.tripac.org

 

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.