Take the stage

UWL Theatre Department sets 2019-20 season

The UWL Department of Theatre Arts has set its 2019-20 performance season.

The Shakespeare classic, “Romeo and Juliet” will open the season Oct. 11-13 and 17-20. The play has been referred to as the greatest love story of all time, or perhaps the most tragic. It’s the story of two star-crossed lovers and the unhappy fate that befalls them due to the long and bitter feud between their families. The play includes some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful and lyrical love poetry and is perhaps the finest celebration of the joys of young love ever written.

Next up is the deeply moving and funny play, “Middletown,” by Will Eno, which explores the universe of a small American town Dec. 6-8 and 12-14. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between. “Middletown” is a delicate play about Anywhere, USA, and how human connection is essential for our survival.

The delightful musical “Little Women,” based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, runs Feb. 28-March 1 and March 5-8. Full of charm and gorgeous songs, the musical version of the novel retains the heart of the original story. Under the loving care of their mother, the March sisters – independent and outgoing Jo, warm-hearted and motherly Meg, shy Beth and the spoiled baby Amy– stand together through their adolescent growing pains. Set during the Civil War, the story of blossoming love and family closeness provides an appealing, sweet evening of theatre for youngsters and adults.

The season closes with the fantasy tale “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen April 24-26 and April 30-May3. A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, “She Kills Monsters” tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, the acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior.

The Theatre Department will also present two Frederick Theatre productions including “Church and State” and “Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince.”

Church and State,” by Jason Odell Williams, runs Oct. 31-Nov. 3. It’s a story ripped from the headlines in this day and age of gun rights and school shootings. Three days before his bid for re-election, in the wake of a school shooting in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, a Republican U.S. senator makes an off-the-cuff comment to a blogger that gets leaked on Twitter, calling into question the senator’s stance on guns and God. As his devoutly Christian wife and liberal Jewish campaign manager try to contain the damage, this look at how religion influences politics and how politics has become a religion is simultaneously funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting.

The annual children’s production is the hilarious “Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince,” by Edith Weiss on Saturday, April 4. Hyronomous A. Frog doesn’t quite fit in among the other frogs in the bog. He’s incredibly large compared to the others and hates the taste of flies. When he meets Gloria the Good Witch, he learns he must be kissed by a maiden to break the curse that turned him from a prince into a frog. Hyronomous sets off for Spamalot, where he finds the spoiled and petulant Princess Gladiola. Gladiola and her painfully pompous fiancé, Sir Lancelot Pancelot, despise the frog and stop at nothing to get rid of him. Meanwhile, the green hero tries desperately to fit in among the royal household. Luckily, Hyronomous finds a friend in Delphinium, the handmaiden, who does her best to save him from the slings and arrows of outrageous Gladiola and Sir Pancelot. When it seems all is lost for our beloved frog, he finally gets his kiss, bringing about a ribbiting… er, riveting… heart-warming finale.

Season tickets may be purchased online at www.uwlax.edu/theatre-arts or at 608.785.6701. Season subscribers will need to have performance dates they wish to attend and seat preference indicated when ordering season tickets. Season tickets are $18 for UWL students, $60 for senior citizens and other students, and $70 for others. “Church and State” and “Hyronomous A. Frog” are not part of the season subscription package. Sales dates for individual shows can be found at www.uwlax.edu/theatre-arts.