Theatre, music divisions collaborate on musical melodrama

Promo still from SMU's production of 'The Two Orphans'A major new collaboration between SMU’s Divisions of Theatre and Music will allow students in the Meadows School of the Arts to work with and learn from professionals on the development of a musical production.

The workshop for theatre and music students – co-directed by Kevin Hofeditz, professor of theatre and associate dean of student affairs, and Hank Hammett, director of opera – showcases Theresa Rebeck‘s new musical theatre piece, The Two Orphans.

Based on the popular 19th-century melodrama about the harrowing experiences of siblings lost and separated in Paris, Rebeck’s libretto tells the story of two African-American sisters adjusting to life in 1865 New Orleans after the end of the Civil War.

Composer Kim D. Sherman and lyricists Rebeck and John Sheehy will be guest artists in residence during rehearsals. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday April 29-May 3 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Purchase online or call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Right, senior music major Madelyn Fortner, standing, and senior theatre major Bianca Denis in The Two Orphans. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Theatre students offer ‘New Visions, New Voices’

Scene from the Meadows Theatre production of 'Intimate Apparel'The Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts presents 6 innovative new plays written and directed by undergraduates in its 15th annual spring playwriting festival, “New Visions, New Voices,” March 25-29.

The 2009 festival includes 4 fully produced plays: Welcome, Waystation, The Constellations Don’t Have Faces and Where Pride Rides.

Two additional plays, But It’s My Wedding Day and Lapsaria, will be read Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, respectively.

“Our playwriting students have drawn praise from notable professional playwrights for their work, which reflects their talent, intellect and dedication,” says Gretchen Elizabeth Smith, associate professor and head of theatre studies. Festival alumni “can be found across the country in the entertainment world,” she adds. “It offers the public a wonderful opportunity to see the first material by these artists of the future.”

All performances take place in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Some of the plays contain adult situations and/or strong language. Tickets are $7 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787, or find a link to buy online at the Meadows website.

(Above, senior Bianca Denis and sophomore Beverly Johnson in the February 2009 Meadows Theatre production of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage. Student director Molly Murphy will also direct 2 plays in this year’s “New Visions, New Voices” festival. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Read more about this year’s productions, including dates and times, from SMU News

Meadows Theatre honors Black History Month with new production

Meadows Theatre production of 'Intimate Apparel'Meadows Theatre celebrates Black History Month 2009 with its production of Lynn Nottage’s award-winning play Intimate Apparel Feb. 25-March 1 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The production is directed by Molly Murphy, a senior directing student in the Division of Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts.

Winner of five national awards for best play, including the New York Drama Critics Circle award, Intimate Apparel revolves around the character of Esther, an African-American seamstress living in New York at the beginning of the 20th century who creates beautiful lingerie for society women and prostitutes alike. She falls in love with a Panama Canal laborer who woos her through romantic letters, though she is also admired by a shy Jewish merchant who sells fabrics to her. Nottage, who based the play on the life of her great-grandmother, called it “a lyrical meditation on one woman’s loneliness and desire.”

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Above, senior Bianca Denis as Esther and sophomore Beverly Johnson as Mayme in the Meadows Theatre production of Intimate Apparel. Photo by Linda Blase.)

“Stuff Happens” on the Meadows stage Sept. 26-30

Scene from 'Stuff Happens'The Meadows Theatre Division opens its 2007-08 season by taking on the Iraq war. Sir David Hare’s “modern history play” Stuff Happens, directed by Theatre Professor Rhonda Blair, runs Sept. 26-30 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Read more about the production – and about the student actress who went straight to the source to hone her interpretation. (Right, seniors Carson Alexander and Durrell Cooper as George W. Bush and Colin Powell with junior Bianca Denis as Condoleezza Rice.)

Continue reading ““Stuff Happens” on the Meadows stage Sept. 26-30″