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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
April 27, 2005

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2005-2006 Season

School of Drama Is the First Theatre Group in Pennsylvania Given the License to Perform "Urinetown," the Tony Award®-Winning Musical

PITTSBURGH—Elizabeth Bradley, head of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, announces the 2005-2006 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 included in the 2005-2006 season all celebrate differences of perspective and the compelling voices of those marginalized by their society—in whatever time. The capacity to embrace and reconcile differing, even opposing points of view, is the measure of a civilized society," Bradley said.

"From the women in 'Lysistrata' who rise up against a macho-militaristic social order to the disenfranchised homeless in 'Urinetown' who forge their own kind of rebellion and to the plea for tolerance among cultures and religions in 'Nathan the Wise,' the School of Drama season challenges the audiences to respond with empathy to the convictions of those formed by an experience different from their own. Even the universal characters in Shakespeare's most mysterious comedy 'As You Like It,' make a plea for us to value their eccentric humanity. We hope audiences will discover the complementary threads of this compelling suite of plays with enjoyment and engagement."

"Lysistrata" directed by Jed Allen Harris

A favorite of antiwar activists throughout world history, this play is one of Aristophanes' greatest surviving works. The play focuses on a campaign waged in the Battle of the Sexes during which Lysistrata and her female comrades take control of the Athenian Acropolis. Outraged by the ongoing war between the men of Athens and Sparta, Lysistrata, her comrades and the women from Sparta join forces to declare a nationwide moratorium on all sexual congress until the men end the war. This play and the original, "Make Love, Not War," comment on the foibles of men and women when their desires are unfulfilled and the power of organized protest against the folly of war and those leaders who take us there.

"Urinetown" directed by John Carrafa

"Urinetown" is the winner of three Tony Awards, 3 Outer Circle Critics' Awards, 2 Lucille Lortel Awards, and 2 Obie Awards. Based on the book and lyrics by Greg Kotis and music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, "Urinetown" is the politically incorrect saga of a Pay-Per-Pee toilet entrepreneur who has become rich by taking people's money during a terrible drought. The entrepreneur's business is threatened when the wicked robber baron's daughter, Hope, falls in love with the hero, Bobby Strong, who happens to be the leader of a free wee-wee revolution. Richard Zoglin from Time Magazine said the play "aims for comic heights and keeps the audience soaring!"

Carrafa, guest director at the School of Drama, was part of the original creative team on "Urinetown" and was nominated for a Tony for his choreography. Carrafa said that he is interested in coming to the School of Drama because of "the high standard of performing talent that I see when I encounter Carnegie Mellon drama students in auditions."

The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama is the first theatre group in Pennsylvania given the license to perform "Urinetown."

"Nathan the Wise" directed by Mladen Kiselov

Written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, this play takes place in Jerusalem during the height of the Crusades. Under the rule of Sultan Sladin, three religions—Islam, Judaism and Christianity—enjoy a rare interlude of peace in the Holy Land. Nathan, a well-respected Jewish merchant and one of Saladin's subjects, returns home to discover that his daughter Rebecca has been rescued from a deadly fire. The rescuer is a Christian Knight Templar, the Sultan's prisoner who was mysteriously spared from execution. After dark secrets emerge about the deep hatred between the religious communities, Nathan confronts Saladin and relates the Parable of the Three Rings and thus forms his friendship with the ruler. Enlightenment Harmony reconciles the ignorance and suspicion that almost tears Nathan's family apart. As one of the finest 18th-century writings of G.E. Lessing, the father of German classical drama, this play reminds people of human reconciliation and communion as answers to religious persecution and violence.

"As You Like It"

Shakespeare sets this play in the Forest of Arden, which is protected from explorers and untarnished by cartographers. "As You Like It" follows the merry adventures of Rosalind, a beloved optimist, and her quest for true love amid the schemes of two warring brothers. Rosalind travels across the lines between town and country, youth and age, the romantic and the realistic, laughter and sorrow, fortune and fate, and virtue and vice.

The School of Drama is one of the nation's most distinguished degree-granting conservatory theatre programs 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: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs.

For additional information about the upcoming season or ticket purchases please contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407, Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information on the School of Drama or the College of Fine Arts, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or by email at or visit

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama 2005-2006 Season

"Lysistrata" by Aristophanes
director, Jed Allen Harris
Preview October 6, 2005
Opening October 8, 2005
Closing October 16, 2005

"Urinetown" by Greg Kotis
director, John Carrafa
Preview December 1, 2005
Opening December 2, 2005
Closing December 10, 2005

"Nathan the Wise" by G.E. Lessing
director, Mladen Kiselov
Preview February 23, 2006
Opening February 24, 2006
Closing March 4, 2006

"As You Like It" by William Shakespeare
director, a guest
Preview April 27, 2006
Opening April 28, 2006
Closing May 6, 2006


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