October 17, 2021

UMW Theatre Plans Reflective In-Person Season

UMW Theatre kicks off its 2021-22 season this week with its first live performances in more than 18 months, presenting Joan Holden’s ‘Nickel and Dimed,’ based on the bestselling book by Barbara Ehrenreich. Photo by Geoff Greene.

UMW Theatre kicks off its 2021-22 season this week with its first live performances in more than 18 months, presenting Joan Holden’s ‘Nickel and Dimed,’ based on the bestselling book by Barbara Ehrenreich. Photo by Geoff Greene.

Mina Sollars sums up UMW Theatre’s upcoming season in a single word: revival.

“Preparing for the first in-person performances on campus in more than a year is such an honor,” Sollars, a University of Mary Washington junior, said of the lineup, which kicks off tomorrow at 7:30 with a pay-what-you-can preview performance in duPont Hall’s Klein Theatre. “We’re so lucky to be able to act onstage together once again.”

After an 18-month hiatus, UMW Theatre students, faculty and staff are once again planning an in-person season, producing plays that will be performed in front of a live audience, with COVID protocols in place. Beginning with Joan Holden’s Nickel and Dimed, this year’s shows reflect the collective pandemic-era conversation that has revolved around society, culture and politics.

“There’s no question that this seems to be an extraordinary moment to engage in the dialogue inspired by Nickel and Dimed,” Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Gregg Stull said of the play, which spotlights those who are overworked and underpaid. “Never before have we thought so much about work and what it means to make a living.” Read more.

Free Lance-Star’s Young Life Column Highlights Preschool Palette, UMW Theatre Virtual Performance

Preschool Palette offers classes both onsite at Gari Melchers Home and Studios and online.

Preschool Palette offers classes both onsite at Gari Melchers Home and Studios and online.

The “Young Life” column in The Free Lance-Star’s Weekender section recently highlighted “Preschool Palette,” a program for young visitors, aged 2-5, at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, which is being offered both on-site and online.

“I feel that art galleries are for people of all ages, and children shouldn’t be intimidated by them. Exploring art can inspire them to create something, too!” said Michelle Crow–Dolby, education and communications manager.

One of the most popular programs for children that was launched nearly 10 years ago is “Preschool Palette,” with sessions that include a story-reading, colorful garden stroll and a related art project.

“I realized that the children in that age bracket of 2 to 5 were underserved in the art world. This was one of the first regional art programs that targeted preschoolers,” said Crow–Dolby. Read more.

 

Bedtime Stories The column also recently highlighted UMW Theatre’s upcoming virtual children’s performance of ““Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up),” staged by the student-led Studio 115.

Playwright Ed Monk wrote “Bedtime Stories” when he had young children, and the script speaks to parents as much as the younger demographic. The show follows a father telling his kids bedtime stories, but he doesn’t quite remember the tales, and invents twists, turns and endings on the fly.

Junior theater majors Oscar Leon and Cate Puglia are co-directing the piece. And while they’d prefer to perform in person, the experience—like a bedtime story—has taught them valuable lessons. Read more.

UMW Theatre Presents ‘Ordinary Days,’ Feb. 13-23

UMW Theatre presents ‘Ordinary Days,’ running in Klein Theatre from Feb. 13-23. Pay-What-You-Can Preview on Feb. 12.

Four young New Yorkers navigate the chaos of being alive in the city that never sleeps, in a world that is eternally shifting. While seemingly unconnected, their paths become entwined in the most unexpected of ways and at the most unlikely of moments. This simple, sweet musical by one of today’s most impressive musical theatre talents, Adam Gwon, reminds us that remarkable lives grow from weeks, months, and years of quite Ordinary Days.

“. . . a sad-sweet comment on the anonymity of life in the city, where it is possible to change other people’s fates without actually getting to meet them.” —The New York Times

“A fresh alternative to most of the overproduced stuff on Broadway.” —The Washington Post

Tickets are available online, over the phone and in person at the Klein Theatre Box Office, which is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Actors Split Role in UMW Musical ‘Fun Home’

In UMW Theatre’s production of Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home,’ three actors – Madison Neilson, Olivia Whicheloe and Lydia Hundley – portray graphic novelist Alison Bechdel at various stages of her life. Photo by Geoff Greene.

In UMW Theatre’s production of Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home,’ three actors – Madison Neilson, Olivia Whicheloe and Lydia Hundley – portray graphic novelist Alison Bechdel at various stages of her life. Photo by Geoff Greene.

A pivotal scene in UMW Theatre’s upcoming musical features the protagonist recalling a drive she took with her late father. Struggling to find the words, they sing a heartbreaking duet about their failure to have an open and honest conversation.

“I’ve lived that exact moment, looking out the car window because I didn’t know what to say to my dad,” said senior Lydia Hundley, who plays the college-aged Alison Bechdel, who later became a successful graphic novelist, in Fun Home. Hundley credits Bechdel’s critically acclaimed memoir and the musical it inspired for teaching her how to communicate with her own parents.

She’s one of three actors who will portray Bechdel at various stages of her life. Junior Madison Neilson plays her at age 10, and senior Olivia Whicheloe portrays her as an adult. The show, which continues UMW’s 2019-20 theatre season, kicks off tonight with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance in Klein Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The box office opens at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Read more. 

Cast Gets Just Desserts in UMW’s ‘God of Carnage’

UMW's God of Carnage runs through Feb. 24.

UMW’s God of Carnage runs through Feb. 24.

Mary Washington theatre students are cooking up something special for their new production, God of Carnage. The comedic commentary on the modern-day strains of remaining civil amid controversy runs Feb. 14 to 24 in UMW’s Klein Theatre.

Two pairs of well-to-do parents sort through a playground altercation between their sons in the show, set entirely in the New York apartment of Michael and Veronica Novak, collectors of African art. Valued sculpture and masks mingle with thick stacks of books, sleek furniture and animal-print pillows in the posh, upscale apartment. But if one of the props looks good enough to eat, it’s because it is. Cast members gather in an off-campus kitchen to create the delicious clafoutis they nibble onstage.

Feigning ingesting a faux version of the dessert just wouldn’t do, said Director of Marketing and Audience Services Jon Reynolds. “In professional theatre, real food is consumed all the time. For the sake of authenticity, we replicate that practice here at UMW.”  Read more.

A Thirst for Theatre

Austin Bouchard finds his calling at UMW.

UMW Theatre Continues 2014-15 Season with “The Drunken City”

The University of Mary Washington’s Department of Theatre & Dance will continue its 2014-15 season with The Drunken City, a comedy by Adam Bock. Eaglevision-Drunken-Slide-webPerformances will take place Feb. 12-14 and 19-21 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 15, 21 and 22 at 2 p.m. in Klein Theatre, located in duPont Hall on UMW’s Fredericksburg campus. In The Drunken City, bride-to-be Marnie and her two bridesmaids, Linda and Melissa, take to the city that never sleeps for one last night of bachelorette fun. When they meet Frank and Eddie during their bar crawl, the bridal party becomes the only thing between the bride-to-be and a huge mistake. While exploring “Sex and the City” themes, the play proves that happiness and heartache are two sides of the same coin. Canadian playwright Adam Bock is the resident playwright at Encore Theatre and a Shotgun Players Artistic Associate. The Drunken City was originally commissioned by the Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, New York and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play in 2008. The Drunken City is directed by Gregg Stull, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and Department of Music. Scenic design is by Associate Professor Julie Hodge and lighting design is by student designer Christopher Stull. Costume design is by Associate Professor Kevin McCluskey and sound design is by guest designer Jon K. Reynolds. On Friday, Feb. 13, the department will host a “Ladies Night Out” event at 5:30 p.m. which includes cocktails at the Hyatt Place Fredericksburg-Mary Washington and admission to the performance. In addition, the matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 15 will be followed by Afterwords, a post-show talk with the cast. Tickets are $12 for standard admission and $10 for students, senior citizens and military. For further information on the events or to purchase tickets, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111 or visit http://www.umw.tix.com.