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Weidner Center production highlights 2011-12 UW-Green Bay theatre season

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The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay theatre program has announced its schedule for 2011-12, a season that will culminate in a special performance of Cabaret on the main stage at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

The production will be the theatre program’s first on the Weidner Center main stage in more than a decade, said Prof. Laura Riddle, managing director for University Theatre productions. It’s a large-scale effort and an exciting endeavor for everyone involved.

Cabaret is going to be huge,” said Riddle, who will direct the show with musical director and assistant professor Courtney Sherman. “Our students are thrilled — they love to work over there.”

Work on Cabaret already has begun with design meetings being held this summer, and will continue during the year as the theatre program presents its three other main stage productions. It will be a busy time for the program, which is coming off its best season and most successful single show to date. Almost, Maine earned numerous regional and national awards at the American College Theatre Festival Region III festival held in January, and was selected as an alternate production to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in April.

The 2011-12 season features dark comedy, farce, musical theatre and more. In addition to the Cabaret production on the Weidner Center’s Cofrin Family Hall main stage, two productions will be presented in the center’s smaller, more intimate Jean Weidner Theatre, and one at the University Theatre in Theatre Hall.

The schedule is as follows:

Dead Man’s Cell Phone, by Sarah Ruhl; directed by John Mariano
Jean Weidner Theatre, Weidner Center, Oct. 13-15 and 19-22, 2011

A woman sitting alone in an urban coffee shop becomes increasingly annoyed at the nearby man who allows his cell phone to ring and ring. Her discovery that he has died at his table and her decision to answer the phone starts her on a wildly imaginative journey that explores the ways in which we memorialize the dead and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. A new comedy by Sarah Ruhl, Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient.

Unnecessary Farce, by Paul Slade Smith; directed by Laura Riddle
University Theatre, Theatre Hall, Nov. 11-12 and 17-19, 2011

Two cops. Three crooks. Eight Doors. Set in connecting motel rooms, this fast and furious farce finds us in the middle of a sting operation to catch an embezzling mayor on video. But there is no small amount of confusion about who has taken the money, who is being videotaped, who has hired a hit man, and why an accountant keeps taking off her clothes.

Criminal Hearts, by Jane Martin; directed by John Mariano
Jean Weidner Theatre, Weidner Center, Feb. 23-25 and 29; March 1-3, 2012

In the empty bedroom of a Chicago luxury apartment, Ata is awakened by a confused woman burglar who had scoped out the apartment when it was fully furnished. Ata explains that after discovering her husband’s infidelity, she slept with his best friend and he retaliated by leaving, but not before cleaning out the entire apartment of all property. The two women plot revenge in this comedy by award-winning playwright Jane Martin.

Cabaret, by Kander and Ebb; directed by Laura Riddle; musical direction by Courtney Sherman; choreography Denise Carlson-Gardner
Cofrin Family Hall (main stage), Weidner Center, April 20-21, 2012

Set in the seedy Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin, Cabaret premiered on Broadway in 1966, sweeping the Tony Awards. The 1972 film starring Liza Minnelli brought international fame to Christopher Isherwood’s character, Sally Bowles, a young, eccentric cabaret performer who fascinates Cliff, an American writer and teacher of English. The decadence of the nightly celebrations in the cabarets is in stark contrast to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. Cabaret has become a classic of American musical theatre featuring a brilliant and memorable score by Kander and Ebb, who later collaborated on the musical Chicago.

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