WCSU Returns to Normal, Reopening Information and Covid-19 Updates

School of Visual & Performing Arts

Theatre Arts

Current Productions

Spring Virtual Production Series

The Department of Theatre Arts is excited to announce our Spring Virtual Production Series! Each show will be available for 24 hours. Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you can watch that show at any time on its designated streaming date. For tickets and more information, click here!

Streaming Schedule:

Thursday, April 29th and Saturday, May 8th – SWEAT by Lynn Nottage, directed by Tim Howard
Friday, April 30th and Sunday, May 9th – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed and adapted by Pam McDaniel
Saturday, May 1st and Thursday, May 6th – The Covid Decameron, directed and curated by Sal Trapani
Sunday, May 2nd and Friday, May 7th – Hedda Freeman, a Contemporary Adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, directed by Justin P. Cowan, adapted by Kamilah Bush and Justin P. Cowan

The Department of Theatre Arts at Western Connecticut State University is proud to present its Spring Virtual Production Series. The series comprises four unique productions that will be broadcast twice over two weekends spanning Thursday, Apr. 29, through Sunday, May 9. A ticket to each performance date will allow the purchaser to access the show over the course of 24 hours that day.

“The WCSU Theatre Arts faculty is very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year regarding our virtual productions,” said Department of Theatre Arts Associate Chair and Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Justin P. Cowan. “Between last fall and this spring, our department will have fully produced and streamed a total of nine productions. Considering that most of our professional industry has been on hold for over a year, we are thrilled to not only be providing theatre to our community and beyond, but also to be providing such meaningful opportunities for our students. These productions have allowed our students to develop new skills, broaden their performance, design and technical experiences, and perhaps most importantly: taught them the importance of creation and expression during challenging times.”

Junior BFA Musical Theatre major Logan Farley, of Belvidere, New Jersey, said, “The thought of doing virtual Zoom musicals and plays seemed so daunting. However, leave it to WCSU to prove me wrong and make lemonade out of lemons! The faculty pushed us to create, work together, and perform in a time when those things seemed impossible. I have always been so incredibly proud of the work we produce here at WCSU, and I am especially proud of the work we did together as a team this year under such extraordinary circumstances!”

Streaming on Thursday, Apr. 29, and Saturday, May 8, is SWEAT by Lynn Nottage, directed by Tim Howard. Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, SWEAT tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. This poignant play takes a look at the de-industrial revolution through the lens of a history play, but also delves into the issues of today: the economy, immigration, race-relations in America, and politics. Lynn Nottage’s SWEAT gives us characters filled with the good and the bad, and asks us to reflect on our own views and the views of others.

The next production featured as part of the Spring Virtual Production Series is William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed and adapted by Pam McDaniel. One of Shakespeare’s most popular and acclaimed comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the tale of love and marriage, order and disorder, and perception and reality. The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which are set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. A Midsummer Night’s Dream streams on Friday, Apr. 30, and Sunday, May 9.

Streaming on Saturday, May 1, and Thursday, May 6, is The Covid Decameron, directed and curated by Sal Trapani. The Decameron, written in 1348 during the Black Plague in Florence, Italy, is the inspiration for this modern and provocative series of reimagined stories of Giovanni Boccaccio. Students, under the direction of Trapani and collaborating with a team of designers and technicians, have devised original pieces that include an adult puppet show, a short musical, a series of dance pieces, short comedic and dramatic films, new songs, unique storytelling, a Zoom play, performance art and some surprise performances. This daring and entertaining event is not to be missed.

The final production in the Spring Virtual Production Series is Hedda Freeman, a Contemporary Adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. This production is directed by Justin P. Cowan, and adapted by Cowan and guest collaborator Kamilah Bush. Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is perhaps one of the most polarizing plays of the 19th century. Published at the height of Ibsen’s fame and performed all across Europe, Hedda Gabler dares to study one woman’s psychological drives, and how they are both influenced and informed by her surrounding socio-economic environment. In this contemporary adaptation, Hedda Freeman finds herself in a marriage and a society that she can’t seem to reconcile or escape. Issues of race, privilege, identity and destiny come to a dramatic head as Hedda struggles to define what freedom really means. Hedda Freeman streams on Sunday, May 2, and Friday, May 7.

The Spring Virtual Production Series will stream on two consecutive weekends beginning Thursday, Apr. 29, and ending Sunday, May 9. Tickets for each performance are $10. For $30, passholders will have access to one performance of all four shows, for the cost of three. Tickets and season flex passes are available at wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. To learn more about the shows and to view behind-the-scenes footage and photos, visit the Department of Theatre Arts on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information, contact Eric Gomez, Visual and Performing Arts Center Events Coordinator, at gomeze@wcsu.edu.


Fall 2020: New Works – New Voices

 

Purchase tickets to New Works – New Voices here! 

The Department of Theatre Arts at Western Connecticut State University will present New Works – New Voices, a virtual production series dedicated to amplifying the voices of marginalized and underrepresented playwrights and composers. The virtual series promises to not only provide meaningful performance, design, and technical opportunities for our students, but also to lift up the voices of writers and composers from diverse communities and populations.

The WCSU Department of Theatre Arts is dedicated to the safety of its students, and is leading the way in online production innovation. Each show has been rehearsed, performed, and edited entirely online, and will be broadcast via livestream. Each production will have two showings, or “performances,” as part of a 10-day-long virtual production festival, spanning from Friday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 6. New Works – New Voices is comprised of five new and unique pieces by some of the freshest voices in theatre. In addition to providing the pieces, the writers of each show worked directly with the cast and crew of each show, providing meaningful networking opportunities and insightful instruction to the students involved.

Opening and closing the virtual production festival is The Radium Girls: A Jaw-Dropping New Musical, written by Amanda D’Archangelis, Sami Horneff, and Lisa Mongillo. This production is directed by Tim Howard, and music directed by Dr. Justin P. Cowan. The Radium Girls: A Jaw-Dropping New Musical is a female-driven, horror-laced dark comedy inspired by the stories and spirits of the incredible young women who worked the factory line at the U.S. Radium Corporation in the 1920s. It’s a thrilling, chilling tale of three best friends, Olive, Helen and Frances, who discover the evil lurking under the glittering surface of the radium craze and ultimately give the patriarchy a taste of its own poison. With queer themes, and a roaring contemporary ’20s score, this piece is guaranteed to thrill and delight. The Radium Girls: A Jaw-Dropping New Musical will stream at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.

The next production featured as part of New Works – New Voices is Dognap on Dekalb, written by Benjamin Colón, and directed by Sal Trapani. Dognap on Dekalb is a contemporary play set in the Bronx. The story follows Esther, a single mother grieving the loss of her son. Esther’s plan to spend the holidays alone with her dead son’s dog is ruined when the dog is stolen by Ariel, a down-on-his-luck pizza delivery guy. Esther must track Ariel down before he gifts the dog to his estranged daughter. Dognap on Dekalb will stream at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, and at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The Department of Theatre Arts is thrilled to welcome Kimille Howard, one of New York City’s top emerging directors, as guest director of In the Open, written by Mona Mansour. At an elite high school for high achievers, an incident happens, an escalation of violence, something that never ever happens there. We see some of the lead up to it, as well as some of the fallout, and we see different entry points and accountings of the same incident, making us wonder if one truth matters more, or if the truth underneath it all – that such a thing could happen here – is possibly more disturbing than the incident itself. In The Open will stream at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, and at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

Be More Funny, and Other Shorts Plays, written by Eric Lane, and directed by Pam McDaniel, is a collection of award-winning short plays that spans from comedic to dramatic, and covers a wide range of stories and emotions. This production is sure to provoke laughter, tears, reflection, and contemplation. Be More Funny, and Other Short Plays will stream at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, and 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3.

The final production as part of New Works – New Voices is a devised piece titled Organizing in the Time of Covid-19 And Other Lessons Members of Generation Z Have Learned, Are Learning, Will Learn Before Everything is Said and Done… Or, Also Too, Maybe Not? This production is a collaboration between the cast and creative team, comprised of director Chris Bolan (Netflix’s A Secret Love), writer Keelay Gipson, and composer J. Oconer Navarro. This play with music provided students a unique opportunity to create a brand new topical piece designed specifically for a virtual medium. Inspired by the theatrical processes made famous by the Joint Stock Theatre Company, this new work will bear the fruits of rigorous research, improvisation, and discussion. Audiences can expect an experience entirely new and visceral. Organizing in the Time of Covid-19 And Other Lessons will stream at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

New Works – New Voices will stream from Friday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 6. Tickets for each performance are $5. There also is a Season Flex Pass available. For $20, passholders will have access to one performance of all five shows, for the cost of four. Tickets and season flex passes are available at wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.

Be sure to follow us on social media, as we will be highlighting the writers, composers, and directors of each play! Facebook: WCSU Department of Theatre Arts. Instagram: @wcsu_theatre


Just Our Luck, a Collection of Virtual, Student-Directed One-Act Plays

in collaboration with New Circle Theatre Company

Wednesday, Dec. 9th at 8:00 PM EST

 

 

Join us for a night of virtual entertainment! Seven student directors have mounted seven unique One Act plays, written by a collection of dynamic women+ playwrights, in collaboration with the esteemed New Circle Theatre Company. Tickets are free, with a suggested donation to the WCSU Department of Theatre Arts!

The one acts being presented as part of Just Our Luck include:

Down by the River by Jannie Wolff, directed by Tony Harkin

Kindnesses by Lori Goodman, directed by Chelsea Weaver

Relatable by Cate Allen, directed by Jordan Cowan

Sentences and Words by Cynthia L. Cooper, directed by Jamie Leo

The Accounting Department by Cindy Cooper, directed by Bailey Nickerson

Password by Cindy Cooper, directed by Jared Hirsch

Walls Like Curtains by Emma Goldman Sherman, directed by Jenna Castonguay

This event is free with a suggested donation. Click here to reserve tickets!

 

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For Tickets to WCSU Visual & Performing Arts events please visit Eventbrite

Box Office: 203-837-8732

Due to the university moving to a virtual campus, the box office is closed until further notice. For questions regarding upcoming events or tickets, please contact Eric Gomez, VPAC Events Coordinator, at gomeze@wcsu.edu.

 

Location:

Directions to the School of Visual and Performing Arts:
The theatre entrance is located on Western’s Westside Campus
Click here for the Campus Map

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