‘Passion Play – Part I & II’ next up in University Theatre’s season

~ Reprinted from FresnoStateNews.com, design by Anthony Cody

The University Theatre at Fresno State still has several more modern works from contemporary female playwrights ahead for theatre-goers. The lineup for the remainder of the 2016-17 season includes the staging of the Passion Play across time, the Contemporary Dance Ensemble, the revelation of a childhood trauma and a darkly hilarious Broadway musical.

“Passion Play – Part I & II” is playing Dec. 2 through Dec. 10. Directed by Ruth Griffin, this is a behind-the-scenes take of two communities’ attempts at staging the death and resurrection of Christ. This humorous, yet unsettling journey filled with lust and whimsy through devotion in Queen Elizabeth’s England and Hitler’s Germany.

“The production, which examines the staging of a passion play within the eras of Elizabethan England and Nazi Germany, is not intended to dispute Christian beliefs,” said Director Ruth Griffin, “but rather examine the dangerous role religion can play when wielded from the hands of an authoritarian government.”

The spring 2017 semester begins with the energy, passion and movement of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble Feb. 17 through 25. Artistic Director Kenneth Balint brings guest artists and choreographers together to present rhythm, physicality and collaboration in contemporary dance.

Director Kathleen McKinley will present “The Great God Pan,” written by Amy Herzog, from March 24-April 1 in the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre. The play shows how even a seemingly perfect life can be thrown into a tailspin when a childhood trauma is revealed. This tale is about what is lost and won when the truth is exposed.

The 2016-2017 theatre season wraps up with “Heathers, The Musical” from May 5-13, directed by Brad Myers. “Heathers” is the darkly delicious story of Veronica, a brainy, beautiful misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers. Before she can relax, she falls for the new boy and is kicked out of the group. This hilarious, heartfelt and homicidal musical is an unflinching look at the joys and anguish of high school.

“University Theatre is excited to share voices and perspectives that have historically been underrepresented in theatre for our upcoming season,” said Herring, theatre arts chair and director. “From the African-American perspective within the epidemic of police brutality to the inclusion of three prominent female playwrights, this next season will highlight contemporary voices that will have a powerful impact on our campus as well as in the community of Fresno.”

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for students for all shows, excluding musicals. Individual tickets for musicals are $20, $18 and $12.

Season subscriptions will be available to purchase online on Aug. 15 at www.fresnostate.edu/theatrearts. The theatre arts box office in the Speech Arts building will open for the season on Aug. 29. Box office hours are noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance. Parking passes must be purchased at a kiosk for all Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances.

For more information, contact Anthony Cody at dacody@csufresno.edu or 559.278.7512 or visit Theatre Arts.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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