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Two dramas set the stage for 2014-15 theatrical season

From farce to timeless drama, the USC School of Dramatic Arts has something for everyone

School of Dramatic Arts play
To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday opens the new theatrical season at USC. (Photo/Craig Schwartz)

The USC School of Dramatic Arts raises the curtain tonight on the 2014-15 season, with more than 20 productions to be presented on stage over the next eight months.

From the poetic Pulitzer Prize winner Anna in the Tropics to the high-octane 1950s musical Grease to William Shakespeare’s timeless As You Like It, this season’s ambitious schedule includes a list of award-winning plays, a three-play repertory featuring the school’s graduate actors, new works by student playwrights and more.

“This diverse range of plays embodies an integral part of our curriculum, which provides our student artists a learning experience that is both challenging and thought-provoking,” said Dean Madeline Puzo.

Each year, the school fully mounts more than 20 productions that demonstrate the talents of the dramatic art students through their work as actors, designers, stage managers and technical directors.

This season’s productions include:

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
By Michael Brady
Directed by Cameron Watson
Scene Dock Theatre
Oct. 2-5

On the eve of his late wife’s birthday, a young widower remains a captive of his grief and spends his evenings with her ghost. In this tale of love and loss, the once-dynamic college professor is forced to make a choice: Rejoin the world of the living or lose all that is most precious to him.

4.48 Psychosis
By Sarah Kane
Directed by Paul Backer
McClintock Theatre
Oct. 2-5

Sarah Kane’s drama follows the journey of a woman in the throes of a psychological ordeal.

Dark of the Moon
By Howard Richardson and William Berney
Directed by John DeMita
Bing Theatre
Oct. 9-12

A mythical tale of witches and ill-fated love in the Great Smoky Mountains. Infused with folk songs, the story interweaves romance, superstition and betrayal.

The Dream of the Burning Boy
By David West Read
Directed by Edward Edwards
Scene Dock Theatre
Oct. 23-26

A high school overachiever suddenly dies, exposing a secret that could destroy those left behind.

Summer Brave
By William Inge
Directed by Robert Bailey
McClintock Theatre
Oct. 30-Nov. 2

An unpolished young stranger comes to town in Inge’s revision of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Picnic.

Cat Among the Pigeons
By Georges Feydeau
Translated by John Mortimer
Directed by Michael Keenan
Bing Theatre
Nov. 6-9

Treacherous lovers, wealthy heiresses and a Spanish general are tossed together in a whirlwind of greed, lies and love. The high-spirited comedy is considered one of the best ever written by the king of French farce.

Anna in the Tropics
By Nilo Cruz
Directed by Denise Blasor
McClintock Theatre
Nov. 20-23

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play captures 1929 Florida, where cigars were still rolled by hand and “lectors” were employed to educate and entertain the workers.

The American Clock
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Cameron Watson
Scene Dock Theatre
Nov. 20-23

Miller’s saga, set during the early years of the Great Depression, is the study of a tortured time in American history and of the indomitable spirit of the people who survived in the face of adversity.

The Seagull
By Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Kate Burton
Scene Dock Theatre
Feb. 7-March 7, 2015

Hailed as one of Chekhov’s master works, the drama unfolds in the Russian countryside, where a discontented group of artists are intertwined in unrequited affection and longing. This production is part of the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ annual Master of Fine Arts in Acting Spring Repertory.

The Servant of Two Masters
By Carlo Goldoni
Translated by Sylvie Drake
Directed by Andrew J. Robinson
Scene Dock Theatre
Feb. 7-March 8, 2015

Trickster Truffaldino signs on to serve two masters in the hope of double wages (and double meals) in this madcap farce. This production is part of the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ annual Master of Fine Arts in Acting Spring Repertory.

Blood Match
By Oliver Mayer
Translated and adapted from the play Bodas de Sangre by Federico García Lorca
Directed by David Bridel
Scene Dock Theatre
Feb. 14-March 5, 2015

Set in present-day Mexico, the play is Associate Professor Oliver Mayer’s new adaptation of Lorca’s tale of murder and revenge. This production is part of the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ annual Master of Fine Arts in Acting Spring Repertory.

Red Noses
By Peter Barnes
Directed by Stephanie Shroyer
McClintock Theatre
Feb. 26-March 1, 2015

In 14th-century France, at the height of the Great Plague, a priest assembles a ragtag band of performers to spread joy in the midst of the devastation.

As You Like It
By William Shakespeare
Bing Theatre
March 5-8, 2015

All the world’s a stage in the Forest of Arden where lovers become entangled in a beguiling game of love, lust and mistaken identity.

The Way of the World
By William Congreve
Directed by John DeMita
Scene Dock Theatre
April 2-5, 2015

Mirabell wants to marry Millamant, but to keep her fortune intact he must outwit her relatives who are bent on keeping them apart in this comedy of intrigue and infidelity.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Directed by Brian Kite
Bing Theatre
April 2-12, 2015

The school’s annual spring musical takes theatergoers back to Rydell High, circa 1959, for show-stopping numbers from the T-Birds and Pink Ladies.

The Waiting Room
By Lisa Loomer
Directed by Larissa Kokernot
McClintock Theatre
April 9-12, 2015

Loomer’s dark comedy about the timeless quest for beauty focuses on three women from different centuries who meet in a doctor’s waiting room.

New Works Festival Year 2
Massman Theatre
April 10-26, 2015

A workshop of plays featuring diverse new works by the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ second-year MFA Dramatic Writing students.

New Works Festival play

A rehearsal of Paira Daiza, part of last year’s New Works Festival (Photo/Craig Schwartz)

BFA Sophomore Show
Directed by Jack Rowe
McClintock Theatre
April 23-26, 2015

A play spotlighting the talents of sophomores in the Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Crumbs From the Table of Joy
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Gregg T. Daniel
Scene Dock Theatre
April 23-26, 2015

A 17-year-old girl’s world turns upside down when her father moves the family to Brooklyn in the late 1950s.

New Works Festival Year 3
The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse
May 26-30, 2015

A festival of plays assembled by the graduating playwrights of the MFA Dramatic Writing program. The readings, each of which has two public performances, are presented concert-style with professional actors and directors.

For more information about the 2014-15 season, visit the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ website.

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Two dramas set the stage for 2014-15 theatrical season

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