2016-17 Season

Graduate Productions

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O Beautiful

Spencer Theatre
Oct 14-23

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Stephanie Roberts and Theodore Swetz

This fiercely funny and disturbingly shocking story explores the lives of high school students, teachers, and their families as they cope in a world of real personal problems and extreme ideologies. Jesus, Joan of Arc, and Benjamin Franklin, among others, show up to weigh in and mix it up. As topical as tonight’s newscast, O Beautiful lands the complex realities of our culture squarely on the stage in an electrifying blend of ancient characters, founding fathers and your neighborhood high school.

Photo from MFA production of Desire

Desire

Adaptations of Tennessee Williams Short Stories

Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Nov 25-Dec 10

Directed by Darren Sextro

Tennessee Williams’s life-changing short stories depict loss of innocence, coming of age, fighting loneliness and isolation, and what it means to love and to lose it.  Adapted by some of America’s leading playwrights, Williams’s striking stories explode off the page.

The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin by Beth Henley
The Field of Blue Children by Rebecca Gilman
Tent Worms by Elizabeth Egloff
Oriflamme by David Grimm
Desire quenched by touch by Marcus Gardley
You Lied to Me About Centralia by John Guare

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The Way of the World

Grant Hall
Feb 10-19

By William Congreve
Directed by Theodore Swetz

The Way of the World is about money, sex, power, appearances and deception, and finally, love.  Mirabell and Millamant love each other, but they endlessly deceive other people, and each other, in order to achieve that love. And that is probably the truest relationship in the play! It’s a huge comedy of deception, set in a society that really has money and sex at the heart of its concerns.” (Michael Kahn)

Written in 1700, Congreve’s The Way of the World continues its life as a classic Restoration comedy because its language is musical and its social commentary is timeless.

 

UMKC Theatre Presents: The Acting Company

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Julius Caesar/ X: Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz: Politics, Power, and the High Cost of Real Change

Feb 21-23
Spencer Theatre

The Acting Company and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Kansas, University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri-Columbia are embarking on an exciting artistic and educational collaboration featuring Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and a newly commissioned play about the life and assassination of Malcolm X by Marcus Gardley; X:Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz in rotating repertory.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Directed by Devin Brain

Tackling essential questions about the balance of ambition, personal loyalty, and love of country, Shakespeare’s timeless political masterpiece has never been more relevant. Through the story of Julius Caesar, a rising political star torn down by his most trusted allies, audiences witness the art of persuasion, the ugliness of backroom politics, and the historical patterns we can’t stop repeating.

X:Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz by Marcus Gardley

Directed by Ian Belknap

The assassination of Malcolm X-both the story we think we know and illuminating details that have seldom been shared-is brought to vivid, lyrical life in award-winning writer Marcus Gardley’s new play. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar provides a framework for Gardley to deepen our understanding of one of America’s most complex, compelling historical figures and explore the tumultuous landscape of ideology and activism in the 1960s.

 

Co-Productions

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Fall Commedia Intensive:

Animal Farm

Fishtank Performance Studio
Sept 22-25

Directed by Brian Buntin

Twice a year The Fishtank works with theatre students on a production that fuses form and idea – this fall we approach ANIMAL FARM with a foundation in commedia dell’ arte. Directed by Fishtank Resident Artist Brian Buntin and coached by Commedia scholar Patrick Rippeto

 

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An Octoroon

Unicorn Theatre
Nov 30-Dec 26

By Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

An Octoroon transforms a 19th century plantation melodrama with a beautiful maiden, Indians, and slaves into a theatrical event that is equally hilarious and moving, subversive and provocative. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a shocking challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859-and of today.

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Hana’s Suitcase

The Coterie
Jan 3-Mar 4

In Partnership with Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and Tradewind Arts

By Emil Sher
Directed by Walter Coppage

An investigative play by Emil Sher, based on the book by Karen Levine and directed by Walter Coppage. Past and present mysteries come together in this captivating true story spanning 70 years and crisscrossing three continents. Fumiko Ishioka, a Japanese Holocaust educator, and her students set out to track down information about a suitcase from Auschwitz. It is a worldwide search for information about its owner, Hana Brady, whose fate is pieced together from her suitcase and artifacts. Hana’s story reaches through time into the lives of the young Japanese students in a Holocaust story like no other – providing a contemporary global perspective and a fascinating history of love and tragedy from Hana’s courageous life story.

Antony and Cleopatra

Spencer Theatre
May 5-May 14

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jason Bohon

A new translation by Christopher Chen, commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! Program co-produced by Kansas City Repertory Theatre

A new modern language adaptation of Shakespeare’s story of two lovers torn between their passions for each other and their duties to their countries. Performed by an ensemble cast of only eight, this epic story is produced as part of Kansas city Repertory Theatre’s Origins KC festival and commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! Program.

 

BA Productions

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The Comedy of Errors

Grant Hall Theatre
Oct 4-16

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Scott Stackhouse

“A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind;Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.” (Dromio of Ephesus)

Two sets of twins, mistaken identity, superstition, slapstick, wild wordplay, a gold chain and a prostitute are the perfect ingredients for a wild night in the theatre. This comic gem is Shakespeare’s shortest play but it’s long on laughs.

Fabulation, Or the Re-education of Undine

Studio 116
April 8-16

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Amanda Davison

Fabulation is a social satire about an ambitious and haughty African-American woman, Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money.  Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, Undine retreats to her childhood home in Brooklyn’s Walt Whitman projects, only to discover that she must cope with a crude new reality.  She faces the challenge of transforming her setbacks into small victories in a battle to reaffirm her right to be.