Theatre and Dance reveals 2011-2012 season

Photo of comedy and tragedy masksA classic American novel, a treacherous mountain climb, and a Shakespearean romance of lost love are just a few of the themes filling out an eclectic theatre production schedule for the NIU School of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming 2011-2012 Mainstage Series season.

As an official presentation to its subscribers May 1, the school announced the lineups for both its Mainstage and Studio Series productions.

The new season will range from the comical to the poignant, and the dramatic to pure fun. 

The Mainstage Series will be comprised of “Theophilus North” by Matthew Burnett, “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare, “Best of Broadway Dance,” “The Weir” by Conor McPherson, “The Ascent of F6” by W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, “Mrs. Packard” by Emily Mann and “Siécle de Ballet (Century of Ballet).”

The Studio Series will present “A Memory of Two Mondays” by Arthur Miller, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving, Storytellers Theatre, “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, “Los Angeles! …Is Underwater” by Luke Krueger and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello.

“Theophilus North” will kick of the mainstage season Sept. 22. After first being presented as a summer production with Chicago’s Organic Theatre Company, “Theophilus North” will be remounted on the NIU stage with some of the same actors. Adapted from Thornton Wilder’s classic American novel, the play follows a New Jersey school teacher attempting to find his way in the world. He instead finds himself stranded in the upper-class town of Newport, Rhode Island.

Then Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” opens Oct. 20. One of Shakespeare’s later tragicomedies, “The Winter’s Tale” weaves a story of jealousy, wounded love, and broken friendships into a heartwarming romance.

The first dance production of the season opens Nov. 17 with “Best of Broadway Dance.” NIU dancers will recreate some of the most memorable dance performances in Broadway history.

Opening Feb. 2, “The Weir” tells the story of a newcomer to a rural Irish town, a single woman from Dublin, who is eagerly told the local folklore and associated ghost stories by the local pub regulars. The play is an exploration of solitude and human need need for connection as the locals learn more about their new resident’s past.

“The Ascent of F6” opens on February 23 in 2012. Set during the height of British Imperialism, a British climber must lead an expedition on a hazardous climb up the mountain of both his dreams and nightmares in a race to the peak against a rival imperial nation.

March 29 marks the opening of “Mrs. Packard,” a historical play based on actual events. Near the time of the Civil War, the Rev. Packard utilizes Illinois law to have his wife institutionalized because he can no longer tolerate their differing religious views. Once hospitalized, Mrs. Packard begins a dangerous confrontation with the doctor to prove her sanity.

The final mainstage performance of the season will be “Siécle de Ballet,” opening April 26. The production will be composed of two ballets with about a century between them. The classical ballet will be Raymonda, choreographed by Marius Petipa, which will be accompanied by a modern ballet yet to be determined.

The Studio Series lineup includes: “The Actor’s Fantasy,” “Evening of Gothic Horror,” Storytellers Theatre, “Macbeth” (by William Shakespeare), “Los Angeles!…Is Underwater” (by Luke Krueger) and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” (by Luigi Pirandello).

The seven-show 2011-2012 Mainstage Series Subscription Package is on sale now for $75 and is available by calling the School of Theatre and Dance at (815) 753-8269. An “early bird” price of $65 applies if purchased before July 31.

Also available are the Mainstage Flex Package for a price of $80 regularly and $70 early bird, the Mainstage Triple Play Package for $39 regularly and $35 early bird, and the Studio Series Package for $20.

For show dates, descriptions and complete details, or a copy of the 2010-2011 season brochure, call the school or visit http://www.niu.edu/theatre.

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