LEWISTON – Niagara University Theatre’s 51st season offers a wide range of productions: from Tony-winning productions and old familiar musicals to thought-provoking dramas.
Niagara University Director of Theatre Steve Braddock said they have chosen an “eclectic and engaging array of productions,” starting the season off Oct. 16 with the “Wrestling Season,” by Laurie Brooks, which looks at some of the issues youth often confront at school and in their community.
Other productions include multiple Tony-winning musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler; also a new twist on the beloved Christmas Carol; the annual Short Play Festival; a new adaptation of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac; and the Tony-winning Broadway classic “Guys and Dolls.”
The shows are to be put on in the renovated William P. and Marie Leary Theatre in the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre.
“With our $3.1 million renovation several years behind us, our first-class facility can offer audience amenities which add to the entertainment experience: a circular driveway drop-off, a computerized box office, an elevator, air-conditioning, listening devices, comfortable seats with arm and leg room and an audience lounge for preshow and intermission – complete with a photographic mural spotlighting NU Theatre productions from the 1960s through 2010,” said Braddock.
He said students work under an award-winning faculty, comprising a professional team of directors/actors, a choreographer, a stage combat expert, vocal instructors/musicians, a costume/makeup designer, a costume technologist, and scenic and lighting designers.
• Oct. 16 to 20, “The Wrestling Season,” by Laurie Brooks, directed by adjunct professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe, a powerful, perceptive and poignant play. Using only the setting of a wrestling mat as a metaphor for the conflicts, betrayal and complicated camaraderie experienced by most teens, eight young people struggle with the devastating power of rumors and how other people see them.
• Nov. 6 to 16, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler and directed by Braddock. In this widely regarded Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd returns to London seeking vengeance and opens his practice above a failing pie shop, then proceeds to slice his way through London’s upper crust.
• Dec. 4 to 14, “A Commedia Christmas Carol,” offers a twist on the beloved holiday classic, directed by adjunct professor Robin Patterson and Terry Judd, founding member of Canada’s Theatre Beyond Words, an international touring theater ensemble specializing in mask, clown, modern commedia dell’arte and visual theater. The Dickens classic will be retold with fantastically imagined masks, clowning and acrobatics.
• A Short Play Festival will be presented Jan. 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31.
• Feb. 19 to 22, in collaboration with the Castellani Art Museum, the NU Theatre will present the classic Orpheus myth “Eurydice,” by Sara Ruhl and directed by artist-in-residence Adriano Gatto, using contemporary characters and ingenious plot twists to take a fresh look at a timeless love story.
• Feb. 27 to March 1, the NU players will present an all student-designed and directed production of “Love Song,” by John Kolvenbach. The story is of Beane, a loner and misfit who feels the walls closing in on him, and the lights are starting to dim, until he meets Molly. This is a richly comic and moving piece of being human and longing for, everything.
• March 26 to 31 will be a presentation of “Cyrana,” an adaptation of the classic comedy “Cyrano de Bergerac,” written and directed by associate professor/ associate director of theater Doug Zschiegner. Cyrana is a poet, soldier and hopeful romantic who vies for her own true love against both her adversary and her close friend, ultimately finding the courageous heart behind the spectacular nose.
• April 23 to May 3, the NU Theatre will wrap its season with “Guys and Dolls.” Braddock will direct the Tony-winning American musical filled with unforgettable songs and a quirky cast of gamblers, gangsters and gals, set in New York City.
Guys and Dolls will also be presented at 4 p.m. May 2 in the Leary Theatre as part of the 30th annual Friends of Niagara University Theatre Gala. Tickets are $150 or $175 per person (Gala patrons), which includes a cocktail reception, dinner and live auction at the Niagara Falls County Club.
Information about tickets and show times are available online at http://theatre.niagara.edu.
If you commit to a season subscription and order tickets for six productions you will earn a 10 percent discount.
Tickets may also be purchased in the lobby of the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, Monday through Friday, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., and also one hour prior to curtain.
Tickets can be ordered by phone at 286-8685 (a new box office number) or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for plays and readers’ theater are $15 general admission for adults, $10 for NU employees, alumni, Friends of NU Theatre, seniors 62 and over, and youth 21 and under.
Musicals are $20 and $15. Tickets are $8 for NU student- presented plays, no free tickets for students.
For other productions students will be entitled to one ticket per main stage production.
Any non-NU student, age 21 and younger with a student ID card may be admitted free of charge when there are seats available, five minutes prior to the curtain.