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October 31, 2012

"The Rover" directed by Joel Sass & performed by the senior class of University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater's BFA Actor Training Program, opens this week!

Part sex farce, part revenge drama, part romantic comedy, Aphra Behn's The Rover, staged by guest director Joel Sass opens the University of Minnesota's Theatre Arts & Dance season with laughter, sword play, and the provocative question "Should not women do as men do?" Presented at the Rarig Center's Stoll Thrust stage on the West Bank Campus, The Rover will be performed by the senior class of University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater's BFA Actor Training Program and play November 1 through November 11, 2012.

Director/adapter Joel Sass observes, "In The Rover, love is a bullfight - raging hormones, and the thrill of seduction edge ever so close to impending danger...that's where the glamorous gets ugly, even violent." Playwright Behn undercuts the double standard says Sass, "This is the work of a self- actualized individual willing to explore beyond women's social confines of the 1600s. Her women are caught in a clash of strict social roles, and their own recognizable modern I-want-this-now impulses." During Behn's own time she was suspected of plagiarism and accused of lewdness because of her gender. Only recently has Behn been recognized for her influence; as Virginia Woolf admonished in A Room of One's Own (1929) "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn."

The Rover opens tomorrow night! For the behind-the-scenes scoop, check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM0suBnODtc&list=UUYV2lVUpk5jmldOgAqtX4DQ&index=1&feature=plcp

October 23, 2012

Dance Faculty and Alumni Receive a Bouquet of 2012 Sage Awards

Joanie Smith, faculty member and choreographer of Shapiro and Smith Dance, was honored for Outstanding Performance recognized in a single work "Celebrating Our 25th Year," as were faculty member/artists/choreographers Toni-Pierce and Uri Sands for Outstanding Performance of "January(Part 1 and 2)" at the 2012 Sage Awards held at the Cowles Center in downtown Minneapolis. The yearly event celebrates the local dance community and highlights its top work, as judged by a panel of peers.

Dance Program alumni Andrew Lester and Eva Mohn both received Sage Awards for Outstanding Performer. Morris Johnson of UMTAD was named best dance educator for which he earned the 2012 Sage Award.

The evening was also filled with many nominees from the U of M's dance and design/tech programs and a striking performance by Ananya Dance Theatre. The awards, now in their eight year are named for Sage Cowles, arts benefactor, choreographer and dancer.
Kudos to one and all!

October 11, 2012

Nationally known playwright Lee Blessing workshops new play "Courting Harry" in first public reading with U of M Students

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/11/12) -Nationally known playwright Lee Blessing's new play Courting Harry will be given its first public reading on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Rarig Center's Kilburn Arena Theatre, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis, on the U of M's West Bank.

Blessing, a Minneapolis native, has been on campus since Wednesday, Oct. 10 working with playwriting students and rehearsing with student performers in the U of M's Theatre Arts and Dance Department.

"We are thrilled to have a playwright of Lee Blessing's stature interacting and challenging our students," said Carl Flink, chair of the Theatre Arts and Dance Department. "We are so excited to join in this Reimagining Community Partnership with alumus Ron Peluso, of St. Paul's History Theatre, who will direct and produce Courting Harry in the spring as part of their season."

Blessing's residency will culminate in a workshop reading of Courting Harry which explores the lifelong friendship Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justice Harry Blackmun, both natives of St. Paul. The friendship was put to the test in one of the most contentious cases of all time: Roe v Wade.

The reading is free and open to the public, however, seating is limited and reservations are required. Please email Jenna at frank585@umn.edu.

This reading is performed by theatre students under the guidance of Dominic Taylor, U of M Professor of Playwriting and the direction of History Theater Artistic Director Ron Peluso.