Ah, the joys and perils of romance | Arts & Culture

Ah, the joys and perils of romance

Ah, the joys and perils of romance

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By Kerianne Tupac

The Department of Theatre & Drama opens the season with the romantic comedy Almost, Maine by John Cariani. A love letter to Northern Maine where Cariani grew up, Almost, Maine is a heart-warming, midwinter night’s dream about the joys and perils of romance. Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama Jerry Schwiebert, the play runs October 4-14, 2012 in the Arthur Miller Theatre.

On a cold winter night graced with the Northern lights, the remote community of Almost, Maine, sparkles with wonder. As the night progresses, nine couples experience the various, unpredictable elements of love.

Winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Sunday in the Park with George is a compelling story about inspiration. The inaugural collaboration between composer Steven Sondheim and writer James Lapine, the musical offers a glimpse into the conflicts between artistic passion and everyday life. Sunday in the Park with George plays from October 11-21, 2012 at the Mendelssohn Theatre. Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Mark Madama directs with music direction by Assistant Professor Cynthia Kortman Westphal and guest Alexander Gemignani.

The University Orchestras come together for a holiday favorite, the Halloween Concert. Full of tricks and treats, the concert includes an array of spooky classical music combined with popular Halloween favorites. Get out your scariest costume or come dressed as you are to enjoy this delightful event for the child in all of us on October 28, 2012 at Hill Auditorium.

Just in time for the election, the University Bands present Band-O-Rama: American Salute. Featuring traditional marches, folk songs, Broadway show tunes, and rock-n-roll favorites, the concert celebrates the varied spectrum of American culture. Band-O-Rama: American Salute plays on November 3, 2012 at Hill Auditorium.

The University Opera Theatre presents Don Giovanni. From the commanding opening chords of the overture, through brilliant arias and ensembles, to the shattering music of Giovanni’s damnation, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart displayed his highest operatic genius in his musical version of the Don Juan myth. Sung in Italian with projected English translations and set in 1780 New Orleans, Don Giovanni is directed by Associate Professor of Opera Robert Swedberg with the University Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Christopher James Lees. Presented by the University Opera Theatre, Don Giovanni plays November 8-11, 2012 at the Power Center.

The Department of Musical Theatre presents Bat Boy: the Musical, based on the Weekly World News reports of a half-boy, half-bat. Written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming with music by Laurence O’Keefe, the show is a mix of affectionate irreverence and hilarious plot twists sure to both spook and spark laughter. Bat Boy plays at the Arthur Miller Theatre from November 15-18, 2012. It is directed and choreographed by Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Linda Goodrich with music direction by Assistant Professor Catherine Walker Adams.

One of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is presented by the Department of Theatre & Drama, and conjures a mystical existence where love, obsession, and transformation collide. From young people seeking their true love to a tiff by the fairy rulers, Shakespeare’s unparalleled lyrical poetry creates a magical world full of love’s fire. Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama Macolm Tulip, A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from December 6-9, 2012 at the Power Center.

Ushering in 2013, the Collage Concert has a format that is captivatingly distinctive, featuring the incredible range of SMTD ensembles and departments performing one riveting work after another without pause. Presented on January 19, 2013 in Hill Auditorium, the concert is a non-stop evening of virtuosic performances.

The University Dance Company celebrates Translation, an evening of modern dance featuring four innovative works. Highlighting the evening is the first movement of D-Man in the Waters by the multi-talented Bill T. Jones. Created shortly after the death of his partner Arnie Zane from AIDS, D-Man in the Waters celebrates the resilience and survival of the human spirit. Rounding out the program are new works by faculty choreographers Amy Chavasse, Jessica Fogel, and Sandra Torijano. Translation runs February 7-10, 2013 at the Power Center.

Earning playwright Thornton Wilder his third Pulitzer Prize, The Skin of Our Teeth premiered in 1942 in the midst of WWII. Combining absurdity with solemnity, the play follows the Antrobus family as they survive various cataclysms throughout history in a testament to abiding hope. Presented by the Department of Theatre & Drama, The Skin of Our Teeth is directed by guest and department alumnus Jonathan Berry. The show plays at the Mendelssohn Theatre, February 21-24, 2013.

Each year, the Department of Musical Theatre presents a studio production featuring its students in a straight drama. In 1998, the brutal murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard shocked the nation. In the aftermath, Writer Moisés Kaufman and the Teutonic Theater Project conducted over 200 interviews and spent over a year and a half developing The Laramie Project. A powerful and deeply moving depiction of a town forced to face its loss of innocence, The Laramie Project plays at the Arthur Miller Theatre from February 21-24, 2013.

Our winter opera will be announced in late October. Directing the opera is new SMTD faculty member, Kay Walker Castaldo, who as a guest artist previously directed University Opera Theatre productions of La Bohème (2007) and Tartuffe (2005). Guest Kamal Khan will conduct the University Philharmonia Orchestra. The winter opera plays at the Mendelssohn Theatre, March 28-31, 2013. Please note that the Sunday, March 31 performance is at 4PM due to Easter.

Winner of the 2008 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Play and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts has been called one of the most exciting new American plays. A raucous comedy, abundant with rich insight and brilliant humor, August: Osage County focuses on the Weston family as they deal with the loss of their patriarch. Presented by the Department of Theatre & Drama, the dark comedy plays at the Arthur Miller Theatre, April 4-14, 2013 and is directed by Professor John Neville-Andrews. It is recommended for mature audiences due to strong profanity and adult themes. Recommended for 18 and over.

The Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation highlights the Latin Jazz Ensemble, Creative Arts Orchestra, Chamber Jazz Ensemble, selected faculty ensembles and other student jazz combos in Jazz Showcase, an evening of great jazz featuring compositions and arrangements by UM students, faculty, and many others. Jazz Showcase plays on April 14, 2013 in Stamps Auditorium.

Loosely based on George and Ira Gershwin’s 1930 musical Girl Crazy, contemporary playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, The Beaux Stratagem) adapted the classic tale of boy meets girl and combined it with over 19 beloved Gershwin songs to create Crazy for You. From “Embraceable You” to “I Got Rhythm” and “They Can’t Take that Away from Me,” the musical is a high energy evening full of fun. Guest Dirk Lumbard directs and choreographs, with music direction by Assistant Professor Catherine Walker Adams. Crazy for You plays at the Power Center April 18-21, 2013.

The 2012-2013 season closes with the annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase, an unforgettable revue featuring the wide range of talent of the Musical Theatre Department’s graduating seniors. An essential element in launching students into their professional careers, the Showcase previews in Ann Arbor before making its way to New York where it is performed for agents and casting directors. The Musical Theatre Senior Showcase plays May 5, 2013 in the Mendelssohn Theatre.

Join us for Curtain Call Fridays – post-performance discussions immediately following the Friday performances of all stage productions. Moderated by members of the producing department’s faculty and featuring a rotating array of cast and artistic team members, Curtain Call Fridays offer an opportunity for audience members to talk with artists about each production. The discussions are free and open to all.

Tickets are also on sale for the 2012-2013 Power Series, a subscription package for all shows presented in the Power Center – Don Giovanni, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Translation, and Crazy for You. Tickets for the four show series are $88 (center orchestra/balcony) and $68 (side orchestra/balcony). For more information on the Power Series, call the League Ticket Office at (734) 764-2538.

Tickets for all performances are available at the League Ticket Office, located within the Michigan League on UM’s Central Campus. The Ticket Office is open from 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday, and from 10 AM to 1 PM, Saturday. Reservations may be made by phone at (734) 764-2538 or online at tickets.music.umich.edu. All major credit cards are accepted.

Kerianne Tupac is communications/marketing director at University Productions, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance