Ole Miss Theatre is announcing its 2012-2013 season, “The Power of Politics.” The productions featured are The Complete History of America (Abridged), Urinetown, Time Stands Still, and The Crucible. In addition, there will be “An Evening of Cinema” showcasing Ole Miss students’ short films.
The first production for next season, The Complete History of America (Abridged), is a ninety minute rollercoaster ride through the glorious quagmire that is American History. Performances will be Thursday, September 20 through Sunday, September 30 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Professor Joe Turner Cantú directs what he calls “American history with a wacky, comedic twist.” Cantú was the right pick as director as he follows politics. “I am a political junkie; I follow politics carefully; I follow its analysis. I also have a great interest in American history.” He cautiously adds, “Knowledge of historical facts is more important than we think.” As for the play, lessons may be learned but Cantú mostly wants the audience to “Sit back, have fun, and bring your wackiest sense of humor!”
Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown is an irreverently humorous satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny. Praised for reinvigorating the very notion of what a musical could be, Urinetown catapults the “comedic romp” into the new millennium with its outrageous perspective and wickedly modern wit. Like many of us, René Pulliam, the director of Urinetown, was a little put off by the name of the musical, “To be truthful, I avoided seeing it for a long time—mostly because of the title.” But, she quickly understood why it was on Broadway. “I couldn’t imagine a show by the name of Urinetown appealing to me. Was I wrong! I fell in love with this jewel!” She adds,”I laughed all night—but the show has some very surprising twists in the plot, too.” Aside from being a big fan of the show, Pulliam thinks this is a perfect fit with the 2012-2013 theme. “Though a comedy, Urinetown touches on so many of the problems that we all struggle with today, like the vanishing middle class.” She’s excited to be directing this show and getting an audience to see it, “I am looking forward to sharing with the theatre students and the community this witty and highly pertinent show.” Performances of Urinetown will be held Thursday, November 1 through Sunday, November 4 in Fulton Chapel.
Along with new musicals like Urinetown, Ole Miss Theatre is also performing a classic by Arthur Miller, The Crucible. Director Rory Ledbetter anticipates a great production from Miller’s work: “It’s iconic and been around so long, so I am excited to make it accessible to a modern audience.” According to Ledbetter, the scope of the play will benefit Ole Miss students, “since it’s so epic with so many roles, there are many opportunities for the students.” Cast perfectly in this season, The Crucible is an exciting drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem and is both a gripping historical play and a timely parable of our contemporary society. It will always be relevant; Ledbetter explains, “The play is about the frenzy of misinformation, condemnation, and unchecked powers.” He continues, “Similar to people in the play, I see people now swept into a frenzy by the media, which vilifies people and this leads to an attack on them.” Performances of The Crucible will be held Thursday, April 18 through Saturday, April 21 at Fulton Chapel.
In addition to these three performances, Ole Miss Theatre will also be producing Time Stands Still by Donald Margulie with performances on Thursday February 21 through Sunday, March 3 in Meek Hall Auditorium. Time Stands Still focuses on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life.
Other events being produced this coming year by the University of Mississippi’s Department of Theatre Arts include “An Evening of Cinema,” Mississippi: The Dance Company’s “Homegrown,” performing November 28 through December 1 in the Ford Center Rehearsal Hall, and performances by student-led groups, Ole Miss Student Dance, and Ghostlight Repertory.
For tickets to any of these performances or to purchase a season subscription, please contact the UM Box Office, (662) 915-7287.