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Press Release

Contact: Joelle Park
(412) 268-5765

For immediate release:
April 9, 2001

"The Baker's Wife" is Drama's Largest Physical Production

PITTSBURGH‹Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama presents "The Baker's Wife" on April 18 -April 21, April 25-April 28, May 2-May 5 in the Purnell Center for the Arts Phillip Chosky Theatre.

Performances of "The Baker's Wife" begin at 8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. A matinee is scheduled for both Saturdays at 2 p.m.

"The theme of this play is to appreciate what you have," said director Geoffrey Hitch, "to find beauty in what is simple and ordinary in life."

However, simplicity may be the one aspect in which the production is lacking. "The Baker's Wife is the largest physical production the School of Drama has ever had," Hitch said. "The magnitude and artistic quality of the set, inspired by French impressionistic paintings, is alone impressive. But it is also completely mechanized. During the course of the play, entire buildings move. The effect is magnificent."

Hitch is primed for the responsibility of directing such a grand production. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. A member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon since 1992, he teaches Directing III, Junior Studio, Designer/Director Collaboration, Theatre Lab and The Fundamentals of Directing. He is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA).

Hitch has directed more than 135 productions of classics, dramas, comedies, musicals and original works, including the North American tour of "Beauty And The Beast." He also directed such respected international festivals as The Spoleto Festival, the William Poel Festival and The Edinburgh Festival where his production of "Booth" won the First Award.

The production's score, a cult favorite, features the signature Byronic style of Academy Award recipient, Grammy winner and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Stephen Schwartz. The sounds of Schwartz ring true to form in the Drama School's performances of such cherished songs as "Meadowlark" and "Gifts of Love".

The story of "The Baker's Wife," based on the book written by Joseph Stein, is staged in a quaint pastoral village of southern France. The setting is unassuming, but the script palpitates with the libidinous trappings of lust, mendacity, a May-December marriage and the fiery tongues of a judgmental mob.

The performance opens with Provençals eagerly anticipating the arrival of a baker. The town hearth lies cold since the previous baker's demise. The population has grown petty and quarrelsome from their hunger for freshly baked bread. The new baker makes his entrance and the town momentarily stops bickering. Instead, they rejoice over the promise of aromatic loaves in the ovens. But their staff of life is quickly forgotten after they see the baker's most tantalizing dish: his coquettish young wife, Genevieve.

In a foolish effort to escape the mockery of her neighbor's suspicions, Genevieve runs away with the town paramour. Her jilted husband, too distraught to function, is incapable of providing the crusty loaves his patrons so desperately desire. To remedy the situation, they must put contention aside and conspire with one another to rekindle the baker's lost love. In this effort the community finds resolution within itself.

For more information, contact the Drama box office at (412) 268-2407.

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