The dead will rise from the grave ... a witch hunt will decide the fates of three people ... a once glorious institution will face the wrecking ball...and a classic literary character will take his case to court.
Of course, these kinds of occurrences don't happen every day. At the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance, however, such events are just samples of the amazing things on tap for its 2011 - 2012 performance season.
Among the season's highlights are Lanford Wilson's award-winning "Hot l Baltimore" (Sept. 30 - Oct. 9), Arthur Miller's classic "The Crucible" (Feb. 24 - March 4), horror-comedy musical "Zombie Prom" and a new look at Dickens' classic characters in "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge."
Season subscriptions go on sale April 22, and tickets for individual plays will be available in September. For additional details, call 713-743-2929 or visit the box office website.
Performances are either in the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre or Jose Quintero Lab Theatre. Both are located in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard).
The following five plays are included in the school's subscription series.
- Sept. 30 - Oct. 9: "Hot l Baltimore" by Lanford Wilson
Eavesdrop on the comings and goings of the eccentric, motley residents of the Hotel Baltimore as they discover their once elegant home is slated for the wrecking ball. Slices of private and public conversations reveal the fears, longings and hilarious foibles of these lost souls as they face an uncertain future. This ensemble comedy sings a tragic lament for the lost values of the "American Dream," fracturing stability while celebrating hope and progress. "Hot l Baltimore" received the Obie Award for Best New Play.
- Oct. 14 - 23: "Our Lady of 121st Street" by Stephen Adly Guirgis
The Ortiz Funeral Room is in big trouble. The body of beloved community activist Sister Rose has been stolen from the viewing room. While awaiting its proper return, colorful neighborhood citizens try to confront their grief, checkered pasts and uncertain futures. You'll meet Rooftop, a chronically unfaithful but otherwise popular Los Angeles DJ; Pinky and Edwin, two brothers tragically linked forever; and the outrageously angry Norca, who slept with her best friend Inez's husband. These characters and others are on a collision course with each other that's motivated by rage, pain and a scary desire to come clean - perhaps for the first time.
- Feb. 24 - March 4: "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller's Tony Award-winning play was widely acclaimed as a metaphor for the recklessness of Joseph McCarthy and his spurious crusade against communism. This story of the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem is both a gripping historical drama and a timely parable of our contemporary society. Abigail accuses her lover John Proctor's wife of witchcraft. Proctor brings his wife Elizabeth to court to confront the lie, and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted.
- April 20 - 29: "The Cripple of Inishmaan" by Martin McDanagh
Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland in 1934, "The Cripple of Inishmaan" is a touching comic tale. Word arrives on Inishmaan that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island of Inishmore to film "Man of Aran." The one person who wants to be in the movie more than anybody is "Cripple" Billy Claven, who needs a break from the bitter tedium of his daily life.
- April 27 - 29, 2012: Spring Dance Concert
This annual show features contemporary works by faculty and guest artists with pre-professional dance company, the UH Dance Ensemble.
- Oct. 28 - Nov. 6: "Zombie Prom"
Set in the 1950s, this is the musical tale of sweet Toffee and her rebellious boyfriend Jonny. After they break up, Jonny drives his motorcycle to the nearby power plant and flings himself into a nuclear cooling tower. He returns from the dead as a radioactive zombie to profess his love to Toffee. He plans to clean up his act, finish school and take her to the senior prom - if she'll have him.
- Dec. 2 - 3: "Emerging Choreographers"
The creative energies of up-and-coming choreographers are showcased in this annual concert that has become a favorite among dance enthusiasts.
- November 18 - 20, December 2 - 3: "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge"
A year after his miraculous transformation, Ebenezer Scrooge is back to his old ways. He sues Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. As Scrooge represents himself, witness after witness takes the stand to testify about the night in question. In a staggering turn of events, Scrooge makes the spirits an offer they can't refuse - spread the spirit of caring and giving every day instead of once a year!
About UH School of Theatre and Dance
The UH School of Theatre and Dance produces professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions, a new play festival, and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. The school performs in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The Houston Shakespeare Festival is a professional project of the school, which is produced each summer at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor's and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance. Its graduate program consists of a master of arts in theatre and master of fine arts in theatre with specializations in acting, directing and design. Faculty includes Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee, Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow, Tony nominated designer Kevin Rigdon and veteran dramaturg Mark Bly. Among the greats who have taught at the school in previous years are Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall and Jose Quintero. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.