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2017-18 theatre season at Augustana

Stop Kiss

7:30 p.m. Aug. 31, Sept. 1-2
1:30 p.m. Sept. 3

The Augustana theatre season begins with "Stop Kiss," a 1998 play by Diana Son directed by Audrey Johnsen.

Two women walking through New York City's West Village very late at night share their first kiss and are attacked by a bystander. One woman is badly injured and falls into a coma.The play explores the depths of emotion and compassion, as well as relationships, as various friends try to help the woman recover.

The story is told out of chronological order: alternating scenes before and after the assault, which is not shown onstage.

"This story of a charmingly unfocused radio traffic reporter and her friendship with a schoolteacher from St. Louis, is also a gentle, affectionate work, with a blithe sense of comedy that brings to mind early episodes of ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'' The breezy comic spirit doesn't trivialize the play's underlying gravity."

— Ben Brantley, New York Times

Amelia Earhart

1:30 p.m. Sept. 23
1:30 p.m. Sept. 24;
Special school showing Sept. 22

"Amelia Earhart" tells the story of the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The play uses headlines, remembrances, flashbacks and introspective monologues by Earhart against the backdrop of music, styles and politics of the 1930s and 40s.

The play is by Kathryn Schultz Miller, an award-winning writer of many plays for young audiences. Directed by Jackie Wynes McCall '98.

The Madwoman of Chaillot

7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21
1:30 p.m. Oct. 15, 22.

An eccentric woman in Paris and her allies struggle against evil men who seek only wealth and power. The play by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux was written in 1943 and first performed in 1945.

The play is set in the Chaillot district of Paris, where Countess Aurelia, the harmless "madwoman" sees the world as happy and beautiful until learning about plans to ruin Paris to drill for oil. She gets the help of her fellow outcasts and madwomen in her fight.

The New York Drama Critics' Circle hailed an early production as "pure gold, with no base metal" and having "an enveloping and irresistible humor."

Directed by Jeff Coussens.

La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas

7:30 p.m., Dec. 8-9

"La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas" is one-woman show written and performed by Shelley Cooper. It is inspired by the life and work of the dramatic 20th century opera singer Maria Callas.

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 in the Brunner Theatre Center Black Box.

The show runs 60 minutes, and contains stories of Callas' life and iconic arias that Callas is known for singing.

In the Next Room, or the vibrator play

7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, 27, Feb. 2, 3
1:30 p.m. Jan. 28, Feb. 4.

This Pulitzer Prize finalist is set in the 1880s and based on the historical fact that doctors once used vibrators to treat "hysterical" women. "In the Next Room" involves a doctor and his wife (a new mother) and how the "therapy" affects their entire household.

Other themes include Victorian ignorance of female sexual desire, motherhood, breastfeeding, and jealousy. The comedy by Sarah Ruhl was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards. (Wikipedia) The playwright's parents grew up in Davenport but this is the first time the play has been performed in the Quad Cities. (Hear an interview with Ruhl by WVIK.)

Directed by Jennifer Popple.

Beauty and the Beast Junior

Feb. 23- March 4

Penguin Project Quad Cities will present the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a country town, and the Beast, a prince trapped under a spell. Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverten.

Children with developmental disabilitie participate in the Penguin Project, performing a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical each year.

The Drowsy Chaperone

7:30 p.m. April 27, 28, May 4, 5
1:30 p.m. April 29, May 6

Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, "The Drowsy Chaperone" is a parody of American musical comedy of the 1920s.

The story concerns a middle-aged, asocial musical theatre fan; as he plays the record of his favorite musical, the (fictional) 1928 hit "The Drowsy Chaperone," the show comes to life onstage while he comments on the music, story, and actors. (Wikipedia)

The show will be directed by Shelley Cooper and Michelle Crouch, Augustana assistant professor of music. Music and lyrics by Lisa lambert and Greg Morrison, book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar.

Play Production

March 9-11

The Play Production class will pick a title, design, direct, and produce a show. This annual offering gives students an inside look at all the aspects of play production and the collaborative nature of theatre.

Accidental Death of an Anarchist

7:30 p.m. April 12, 13, 14
1:30 p.m. April 15

"Accidental Death of an Anarchist" is the most internationally recognized play by Dario Fo, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. Considered a classic of 20th-century theater, it has been performed in more than 40 countries.

The play is a farce based on the real-life events surrounding Italian railwayman and anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell – or was thrown – to his death from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. Pinelli was accused of bombing a bank but was cleared of the charge. The events of the play, however, are fictional. (Wikipedia)

Directed by Keenan Odenkirk.

Quad Cities Playwrights Festival

May 12

This annual showcase of 10 minute plays features new works by area playwrights high school age and up.

Summer theatre: Huck, 'Luck' and Tennessee

The Mississippi Bend Players will return for a second season this summer with three productions: "Big River," based on the story of Huckleberry Finn; the Tennessee Williams' classic "Glass Menagerie"; and "Beginner's Luck" a new work by P.J. Lasker.

shelley cooper

Cooper sees life skills in musical theatre

“I would say that what the musical-theater concentration does is open doors to having skills in multiple areas — and that's what’s kept me employed since I graduated," says Shelley Cooper, a new assistant professor of theatre arts heading Augustana's new musical-theater concentration.

Shelley Cooper and class

Musical theatre is right on cue

Augustana has introduced a concentration in musical theatre, and it’s going to be a star. 

Outside the Box auditions

Outside the Box, Augustana's new sketch group, is holding auditions today and Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. in Potter Hall, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts.

Outside the Box shows will consist of 60-90 minutes of short sketches and performances.

Outside the Box auditions

Outside the Box, Augustana's new sketch group, is holding auditions from 6-7 p.m.

Outside the Box shows will consist of 60-90 minutes of short sketches and performances.

No acting experience is needed. The group is looking for new faces to bring in fresh energy and ideas.

Zina Ellis: "Legally Black"

Zina Ellis, an actor, singer and writer from Moline, Ill., will perform a one-hour cabaret, “Legally Black.”