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Press Release

Contact:
Eric Sloss
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
April 24, 2003

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2003-04 Season

PITTSBURGH—Elizabeth Bradley, head of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, announces the 2003-04 season for the Purnell Center for the Arts. Performances take place in the Philip Chosky Theater, the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater and the John Wells Video Studio.

The plays and musicals scheduled for the upcoming season explore the socio-economic relationships in today's post-Enron world, namely whether corporate America is actually yielding all it promised. Bradley said the season examines these issues, including the erosion of American middle class, the plight of the working poor and the scandals of Enron and WorldCom. The season asks the questions: Can individuals in the 21st century still achieve the "American Dream" and better themselves through their own effort and ingenuity? And further, is prosperity truly the most important measure of success? Four varied works from major theatrical voices and eras tackle these complex questions with comedy, pathos and eviscerating satire.

Measure for Measure, directed by Alumna Martha Henry
"Measure for Measure" is a dark comedy dealing with the confrontation between idealism and cynicism, integrity and expediency. Considered one of Shakespeare's "problem plays"—because a moral dilemma is posed and a solution sought—Shakespeare explores standards of freedom, justice, sexual relationships and morality in his time, as well as our own. The play questions the significance and sustainability of personal integrity and beliefs in the face of grave peril.

Guest director and Carnegie Mellon alumna Martha Henry will direct this production. An actor, director and stalwart of the Stratford Theater Festival since her 1962 debut, Henry has played dozens of leading roles in the contemporary and renaissance repertories, including an adored interpretation of Isabella in "Measure for Measure," Olga in Chekhov's "Three Sisters," and Mary Tyrone in "A Long Day's Journey into Night." Aside from her performances at Stratford, Henry has acted and directed in London and New York, on television and in movies. In 1988, she was appointed artistic director for the Grand Theatre, London. Most recently, her Stratford production of "Richard II" (1999) received phenomenal reviews, as did her production of the premiere of Timothy Findley's "Elizabeth" (2000). Henry was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and in 1996 won a Governor General's Award. This summer she is directing a new production of "Antony and Cleopatra" at the Stratford Festival.

Sly Fox, directed by Alumnus Jed Harris
Loosely based on the classic play "Volpone" by Ben Jonson, "Sly Fox" by Larry Gelbart is a funny tale of old sins and new tricks. Though the original story was based in 17th-century Venice, Foxwell J. Sly finds himself in turn-of-the-century San Francisco during the Gold Rush, where he attempts to part a trio of rich, greedy opportunists from their fortunes by pretending to be on his deathbed. Gelbart is a noted writer of both stage and screen. His credits include the Tony Award-winning "City of Angels," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," the movie "Tootsie," and the television series "M*A*S*H*."

Faculty director Jed Allen Harris will direct this production. Harris earned his master of fine arts degree in directing from Carnegie Mellon, taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Pittsburgh and was a guest lecturer at the State University of New York-Purchase before returning to Carnegie Mellon as a member of the directing faculty. Harris is the associate director at the City Theatre in Pittsburgh and has served as artistic director at Theater Express. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named his production of Samuel Becket's "Endgame" at Theatre Express and his production of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" at City Theatre to the list of top 10 productions of the '80s.

The Satire, Serious Money
"Serious Money," by celebrated playwright Caryl Churchill, premiered at London's Royal Court in 1987 before transferring to the West End, and also had a brief but highly acclaimed run on Broadway shortly after the stock market crash of October 1987. The play won the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play. "Serious Money" is a dark and brutal satire set against a backdrop of the London Stock Exchange that sends up the cutthroat dealings of corporate raiders and brokers. Written in verse structure, the play features Brechtian style musical interludes and songs written by English rock musician Ian Dury.

The Wild Party comes to Pittsburgh from Broadway
"The Wild Party" is a dark, sensuous and glittering musical by composers Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe. It is one of the two musicals recently produced virtually simultaneously on Broadway during the 2000 season based on the 1928 Joseph Moncure March poem of the same name. The musical is a feast of stunning imagery that evokes both innocence and decadence in a single night of partying by a crowd of colorful guests who show up to get wild and play some dangerous games. With an inventive, jazzy score, "The Wild Party" is a brilliant and savage unmasking of the lies we live by and the social and economic labels we die by.

Guest director Kent Gash, who is the associate artistic director of The Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta, will direct "The Wild Party" production. Gash will stage this season's productions of "Shakespeare's R&J" and "Pacific Overtures" (co-produced at the Cincinnati Playhouse) and has directed "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" by Tennessee Williams. Most recently, Gash directed the Off-Broadway world premiere musical "Call the Children Home" for Primary Stages. Gash has served on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, American Conservatory Theatre and Carnegie Mellon's Pre-College program. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Melting Pot Theatre Co. in New York City and the Non-Traditional Casting Project. Born and raised in Denver, Colo., Gash is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.

In addition to the main-stage season, there will be numerous other School of Drama productions and projects during the upcoming season. This will include a school-wide reading of Joan Holden's stage adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed," which explores how anyone can survive, let alone prosper, on $6-7 an hour. In the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater, the School of Drama will also present Zora Neale Hurston's "Spunk," a rich, dramatic tapestry of both rural and urban African American life in the 20th century.

For additional information about the upcoming season or ticket purchases, please contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407, noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The School of Drama is the nation's oldest degree-granting theatre program and is one of five schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into five schools: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs.

For more information on the School of Drama or the College of Fine Arts contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765, by email at ecs@andrew.cmu.edu or visit www.cmu.edu/cfa.

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama 2003-2004 Season

In the Philip Chosky Theatre:

MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Preview: October 2, 2003
Opening: October 3, 2003
Closing: October 11, 2003

SLY FOX
Preview: November 20, 2003
Opening: November 21, 2003
Closing: December 6, 2003

SERIOUS MONEY
Preview: February 19, 2004
Opening: February 20, 2004
Closing: February 28, 2004

THE WILD PARTY
Preview: April 22, 2004
Opening: April 23, 2004
Closing: May 1, 2004

In the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre:

SPUNK
Opening: November 21, 2003
Closing: December 6, 2003

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