Carnegie Mellon University
June 03, 2011

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon School of Drama's New Season Features Tony Award-Winning Play, Internationally Acclaimed Director

Contacts: Dennis Schebetta / 412-268-2068 /   
Teresa Thomas / 412-268-2900 /
PITTSBURGH—The Tony Award-winning musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and a special visit by renowned German director Peter Kleinert are among the highlights of the 2011-2012 season for Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.
In addition to “Sweeney Todd” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and libretto by Hugh Wheeler, the School of Drama’s Subscriber Series includes the Tony-nominated “Bus Stop” by William Inge, “Good Person of Setzuan” by Bertolt Brecht, “Mad Forest” by Caryl Churchill, “Suddenly Last Summer” by Tennessee Williams and “Les Enfants Terribles” by Jean Cocteau.
The new season also includes a seven-play Directors Series and a New Works Series of six plays, which will be directed by students in The John Wells Directing Program, recently named for the legendary Hollywood producer who graduated from the School of Drama in 1979.
“The School of Drama season offers wonderful opportunities and challenges to participants across all courses,” said Peter Cooke, head of the School of Drama. “We’re delighted to welcome the acclaimed Peter Kleinert from Germany, who will direct ‘Good Person of Setzuan’ along with guest music director Jürgen Beyer.”
Joining Kleinert as a guest director this year will be Joe Calarco, an established New York and regional director, known for his work in “In Transit” and” Shakespeare’s R&J.” Calarco will serve as guest director for “Sweeney Todd.”
Students in the Dramaturgy Program will hold regular post-performance talkbacks with the audience, casts and crews following Tuesday evening performances. The dramaturgs are also available to discuss the plays with classes, student groups and public organizations. Contact Michael Chemers, dramaturgy option coordinator, at or 412-268-2399 to schedule a session with a dramaturg.
All Subscription Series performances take place at 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday in CMU’s Purnell Center for the Arts. Performances will be held in the Philip Chosky Theater, the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater and the John Wells Video Studio. More information about each production is listed below.
Subscriptions to the 2011-2012 season are available. For package options or to place a subscription order, call the box office at 412-268-2407 between noon and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Special discounts are available to all Carnegie Mellon alumni.
For more information on the 2011-2012 season of plays visit

Subscriber Series

“Good Person of Setzuan,” directed by Peter Kleinert
Preview: Oct. 6; Opening: Oct. 7; Closing: Oct. 15. Philip Chosky Theater

“Good Person of Setzuan” explores the notion of good and evil when three gods arrive on earth in search of one “good” person. Bertolt Brecht asks if an individual’s capacity for good still exists in a world riddled with iniquity, avarice and envy. If it does, what would such a person look like? If it does not, what are the consequences for society? Directed by German guest artist Peter Kleinert, “Good Person…” is epic theater that will provoke and entertain in equal measure.

“Mad Forest,” directed by Jed Harris
Preview: Dec. 1; Opening: Dec. 2; Closing: Dec. 10. Philip Chosky Theater

The 1989 Romanian revolution left a country in chaos. Caryl Churchill uses a blend of theatrical journalism and magical realism to provide an account of this wrenching moment in European history. Part documentary, part bold imagining, “Mad Forest” challenges our expectations about the nature of civic revolution, and the people left to pick up the pieces.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” directed by Joe Calarco
Preview: Feb. 23; Opening: Feb. 24; Closing: March 3. Philip Chosky Theater

“Sweeney Todd” is a Tony Award-winning masterpiece by composer Stephen Sondheim. Directed by guest artist Joe Calarco, this hauntingly chilling story explores love, loss and blood-soaked revenge. Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett systematically kill and bake people into pies, which is set to a magical score and breathtaking book and lyrics. Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd and you’ll get the closest shave you’ve ever known!
“Bus Stop,” directed by Gregory Lehane
Preview: April 26; Opening: April 27; Closing: May 5. Philip Chosky Theater

William Inge’s 1955 play “Bus Stop,” nominated for four Tony Awards, features eight idiosyncratically fascinating characters in search of personal fulfillment. Stranded by a fierce snowstorm in a rural Kansas diner, passengers on an interstate bus engage, commiserate, challenge and romance a group of locals unused to the company of strangers. This beautiful and introspective play reveals the possibility that dignity and grandeur are in each and every human action.

“Suddenly Last Summer,” directed by Katherine Brook
Opening: Dec. 7-10, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

 “Suddenly Last Summer” is an elegantly grotesque one-act play, in which the traumatized family of an eccentric gay poet struggles to repress, dismember and reconstruct the story of his death. Approaching the production through innovative performance styles will shine new light on Tennessee Williams’ poetic and darkly somber masterpiece.

“Les Enfants Terribles,” directed by Joshua William Gelb
Opening: May 2-5, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

In 1929 Jean Cocteau penned the acclaimed “Les Enfants Terribles” over three weeks while recovering from an opium addiction. A tragic thriller, Cocteau’s work tells of two sibling adolescents, Paul and Elisabeth, who escape the mundane adult world through an increasingly sinister series of fantastical twists they call “The Game.” This adaptation of Cocteau’s 1950 screenplay explores the delirious contradictions of our modern technological world.

Directors Series

Tickets are free. Talkbacks are not offered for Director Series plays.

“The Learned Ladies” by Moliere: Nov. 16-18, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“The Serpent Woman” by Carlo Gozzi: March 28-30, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“Hair,” book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot: Feb. 15-17, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“The Collected Works of Billy the Kid,” adapted from the poems of Michael Ondaatje: Feb. 29- March 2, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“The Turn of the Screw” by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novella by Henry James: Feb. 29- March 2, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“Master Harold…And the Boys” by Athol Fugard: April 11-13, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater

“Slavs” by Tony Kushner: April 11-13, John Wells Video Studio

New Works Series

Along with a selection of classic, contemporary and music theater masterworks, the season contains a program of new works written by dramatic writing students and directed by students of The John Wells Directing Program.

Nov. 1- 5

“Dead Drop” by Kevin Mullins

“The Falser Heart” by Jason Sebacher

“Archaic Television Sex and Noise” by Liza Birkenmeier

May 2 -5

“The Gyntish Self” by Peter J. Roth

“Bloomfield” by R.N. Healey

“Diablerie” by Murphi Cook