The romantic comedy ‘Months on End’ begins its second week in the Jean Weidner Theatre with a performance Wednesday (March 4) and continuing nightly through Saturday (March 7). Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening.
Thursday (Oct. 16) is opening night for the UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance production of Uncommon Women and Others, playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s tale of 1970s post-college reunion and reminiscence. The play runs at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 17 and 18), as well as Wednesday, Oct. 22 through Saturday, Oct. 25 in the Weidner Center’s Jean Weidner Theatre. Visit here for tickets, and check out our preview video and press release.
UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance will present Uncommon Women and Others, a play by Wendy Wasserstein, beginning Oct. 16 in the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. It is intended for mature audiences only.
In this video preview, cast and director share their thoughts and insights into the play as they prepare to perform.
“The play starts six years after the girls graduate college and they are meeting up to kind of reflect on the last six years,” said senior Ashley Wisneski, who plays college housemother Mrs. Plum. “And then the very next scene is back to their senior year of college, where the majority of the play takes place with them talking about what they want their futures to be like, and what their expectations are as women in the 1970s. And then we return to the restaurant where we see them again, reflecting.”
The play’s director, Prof. Laura Riddle, welcomes the chance to direct a work by the playwright Wasserstein.
“At the time when it was written, in 1978, it was very cutting edge,” Riddle said. “It was an early feminist, second-wave feminist drama or comedy play about women’s experience at the beginning of the feminist movement back in ’72, really, ’71.
“So that’s something that I’ve been trying to help get the cast up to speed on is a little bit more of a sense of what the ’70s were like,” Riddle continued. “I am looking at this as a really wonderful experience to learn something from them, to learn what they think and how they perceive things now because it’s really important to me that this is a play that’s relevant to contemporary women.”
Acting in her first UW-Green Bay production, freshman Emily Ahrens said the cast has had to do plenty of research for Uncommon Women.
“It’s a very, very intensive experience studying for this play,” she said, “ — a lot of references that you had to look up and a lot of character analysis, and making sure you know every single portion of your character’s brain.”
For Wisneski, a senior, the play is easy to relate to.
“This is so relevant,” she said, “when I was reading this play and seeing what the women were considering because it’s all the same ideas. These are very relatable women and I think they’re even relatable today.”
Uncommon Women will have a broad audience appeal, Ahrens said.
“I do think college students would really enjoy this play,” she said, “because even though it takes place in the ‘70s it is about college students it is about women’s relationships during college. There’s definitely a lot you can take from it, whether you’re a college student or an adult.”
For tickets, visit www.uwgb.edu/tickets.
Here’s a nice treat, a benefit of working on a college campus: You’re invited to attend a free short concert by the Lawrence Brass at 10:30 a.m. Friday (April 11) in the Weidner Center’s Jean Weidner Theatre. The group, the faculty brass quintet from Lawrence University, will be performing an hour-long program of classical and jazz favorites. The visit was arranged by Adam Gaines, associate professor of music.
She is 94 years of age, one of the surviving veterans of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) corps, and she is traveling to campus from her home in Faribault, Minn., for activities in conjunction with the UW-Green Bay production of Censored on Final Approach.
Betty Strohfus has gained widespread (if belated) attention for her WWII Era service to the WASP program, a chapter in history not much remembered or celebrated until recent years.
Strohfus will attend special events related to the UW-Green Bay play and take in the next-to-last performance of the show’s run on Friday, March 7. She is expected to take part in a women’s veterans panel at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in the Christie Theatre with veterans from Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A day later, she will visit the EAA Museum in Oshkosh where the collection includes an AT-6 combat trainer of the type she flew as a WASP and taught male fighter pilots to fly before they went overseas.
Plans for her visit developed relatively recently. It is being made possible by the generous donation of private-plane use and pilot time by CAVU Flight Center (Sherwood Williams) of Green Bay — so Strohfus won’t have to travel commercial — and other donors covering hotel accommodations and miscellaneous expenses for her and her son during their stay. UW-Green Bay staff member and private pilot Lidia Nonn used her connections to arrange the trip. We found a nice feature on Strohfus, read more.
‘Censored’ opens Thursday, with special show for vets a day earlier
Censored on Final Approach opens this Thursday (Feb. 27) in the Weidner Center’s Jean Weidner Theatre. A student cast will present the story of an elite group of female World War II fighter pilots who were selected to serve as Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs. The women were not embraced by their male counterparts and therefore struggled for acceptance on a daily basis. Guest directed by Chicago-based Shifra Werch, the show runs Feb. 27-28 and March 1 and 5-8 in the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center. More information.
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Dedicated performance for vets — There will be a special, closed performance open to area military veterans at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 26). Interested parties must reserve seats (one per veteran, plus a companion) by contacting the VA Center at 920-435-5650.
Strohfus expected to take part in March 6 panel discussion
We’ve reported here previously on special events planned to coincide with Censored on Final Approach. Two panel discussions for the public — one on female pioneers and the other on female veterans — will be held Tuesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 6, respectively. A Neville Public Museum exhibit and an on-campus WASPs exhibit are planned. It is expected that WWII flier Betty Strohfus will take part in the women’s veterans panel at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in the Christie Theatre with veterans from Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. See more details on the various programs.
Here’s more on the interdisciplinary collaboration between UW-Green Bay’s Music and German programs that will see an evening of “Lyrik und Lieder” performed at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 10, in the Jean Weidner Theatre.
Students from Music are being paired with students from the German program to dig deeper into the language and musical settings of the beautiful German poetry (lyrik) found in German art song (lieder). Each German/vocal student pair will meet to discuss the translation and musical setting of the poems that will be performed on March 10. At the concert, the German student will recite the poem and discuss its historical background and the vocal/piano students will then perform the musical setting. The goal of this project is to gain a 360-degree perspective on German art song through a discussion of the poem, the poet, and the musical setting. For the audience, it’s a wonderful free concert with a free reception to follow.
Students participatng in the project are students of faculty members David Coury, German; and Abigail Mace, Sarah Meredith and Courtney Sherman, Music.
“An Evening of German Art Song and Poetry” is in store when the UW-Green Bay German program hosts a performance at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 10, in the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. The lyrik-und-lieder program is free and open to the public. Students performing will be William Burton, Liz Brandt, Lindsay Cummings, Paul Dugan, Ryan Dummer, Taylor Dynes, Leah Lamalfa, Andrew Lange, James Letellier, Lane Ludkte, Brian Roberts, Amber Schilling, Nick Schommer, Tory Schuurmans, Nathan Skifton, Kyle Sweeney, Adam Timmerman, Kevin Wellens and Rachel White.
UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance will shed light on the story of an elite group of female fighter pilots beginning Thursday, Feb. 27, presenting Censored on Final Approach in the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.
Written by Phylis Ravel, the play offers an account of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), a group championed by pioneer aviator Jacqueline Cochran but not embraced by their male counterparts. They struggled daily for acceptance, facing bigotry, sabotage and the consequent cover-up of an all-but-forgotten chapter of American history.
“Basically the play is a study and a compilation of the story of the WASPs, which was the Women’s Air Special Pilots.,” said Chicago-based director, designer, actor and dancer Shifra Werch, who is guest directing the production. “(It’s) World War II, it takes place in approximately 1943 — but it’s a flashback memory play.”
The narrative actually starts in 1953, Werch said, then brings the audience back to the time the WASPs were flying.
“They were brought in not to do the ferrying of airplanes that other people, other women had done at that time,” Werch said, “but to do actual toe target flying, which means they gave actual practice to the people who were shooting.”
Despite the women’s skill, Werch said, they faced constant challenges.
“They were excellent pilots. They were not recognized by the military until way after the program was ended,” she said. “They were not treated well and they suffered some of the same inequities and abuse that are happening to women in the services today.”
For UW-Green Bay senior Randy Tranowski, who plays Lt. Paul Ryder, taking on a distasteful character provided some challenges.
“It was hard getting into his character at first because I don’t like to think of myself as a sexist pig or anything,” Tranowski said. “But then you do character research and development, and like it’s a totally different side of the mentality and everything. And it’s interesting to see that whole dynamic change. So it’s kind of fun just to play that up a little bit — because it’s a role and a totally different person from who I am originally.”
To prepare for their roles, the actors undertook research, including taking a trip to the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Oshkosh, said senior Stephanie Frank.
This has been a really, really great opportunity to find out about that history there, because it’s fascinating and you don’t hear about it very often,” said Frank, who plays Jacqueline Cochran. “And I think what is most important to remember is that these are real people, they feel the same things we do — and you just kind of go with that emotion and hope the truth translates to the audience.”
Although the play takes place decades ago, its lessons remain relevant today, Tranowski said.
“Yeah this takes place during World War II, but you can still see these similar parallels in today’s society,” he said, “like right now with the LGBT movement and still fighting for equality and struggling for rights and overcoming differences and obstacles.”
Those parallels also matter for guest director Werch.
“I’m very excited to show this to everybody in the area,” Werch said, “because it showcases the great talent here, an important idea, and what I want theatre to do — it brings us all together to make the world better.”
Censored on Final Approach
February 27, 28, March 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 2014, 7:30 pm
Jean Weidner Theatre, Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets available online or by calling (920) 465-2400 (800) 328-tkts.
Click here for more on the production.
Click here for information on related events.
The 2013-14 UW-Green Bay Theatre season begins with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Crimes of the Heart, opening at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 17) in the Jean Weidner Theatre. Crimes follows the three Magrath sisters, who have gathered at the family home in Mississippi after the youngest, Babe, shoots her husband in the stomach. Their troubles are grave, yet somehow hilarious, balancing comedy and drama in a way audiences will enjoy, says Associate Prof. John Mariano, director. Performances are Oct. 17-19 and 23-26. See details.
Fans of opera and newcomers alike are welcome to enjoy a pair of Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday (April 19) and Saturday (April 20) in the Weidner Center’s Jean Weidner Theatre. Directed by Assistant Prof. Courtney Sherman and accompanied by pianist Emily Sculliuffo, 14 students will perform selections from “Assassins” (Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman” and “The Marriage of Figaro” (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo de Ponte). Tickets are just $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Check it out — more information.