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Loyola University New Orleans Announces 2016-2017 Theatre Season

Loyola press release - September 30, 2016

Under the direction of new department chair Laura Hope, Theatre Arts enters a Golden Age at Loyola

As Loyola University New Orleans Department of Theatre Arts and Dance enters a Golden Age under exciting new leadership, the department announces its 2016-2017 theatre season. All performances are part of the university’s acclaimed Montage Fine and Performing Arts series, which this year celebrates “the Creative American Spirit.”

“This theatre season ushers in a series of exciting plays by American writers, which we are proud to produce at Loyola University New Orleans. They highlight the creativity and spirit of American theatre artists,” said Dr. Laura Hope, who assumed leadership of Loyola’s acclaimed Theatre Department in January 2016.

“Loyola students will perform a play by Eugene O’Neill, one of the nation’s foremost playwrights; a new play that explores issues affecting free women of color in New Orleans; and a play involving the formerly incarcerated as they are released from prison and struggle to rebuild their lives.”

Hope took the helm of Loyola’s theatre department with plans of creating new community-engaged programs for Loyola students, engaging with local and regional theatre organizations, and encouraging long-time and new audience members to attend and support Loyola. Already, she has forged an important partnership with Southern Repertory Theatre, engaged a fellow director from The NOLA Project, and selected a series of plays that reflect issues of social and racial justice, so central to the mission at Loyola New Orleans, the oldest Jesuit university in the South.

To kick off the yearlong celebration of “the Creative American Spirit,” Hope immediately looked to acclaimed American playwright Eugene O’Neill. Next month, Loyola will perform the playwright’s first Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, ‘Beyond the Horizon,’ under the direction of award-wining director Mark Routhier, a company member of The NOLA Project, and veteran of the National New-Plays Network.

Of special interest to local audiences will be Loyola’s performance of “The House That Will Not Stand,” adapted by the highly-regarded young poet and playwright, Marcus Gardley. The play is an adaptation of the classic women’s drama, “The House of Bernarda Alba” by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, reset in New Orleans in 1813 among free women of color dealing with the repercussions of the Louisiana Purchase.

Dr. Hope will direct the production, and admits:

“I fell in love with the script the moment I read it. I knew I wanted our students to have the privilege of being the first in the region to produce this play and to engage with the compelling work of Mr. Gardley, a rising star in American theatre. Through art, we connect with our emotions, explore the human condition, and develop empathy. As our nation grapples with racial and social justice issues, and the city approaches its Tricentennial, Loyola’s performance of “The House That Will Not Stand” allows a close and personal look at our own city’s cultural and social history.

“This play, which historically explores themes of repression, passion, and conformity, as well as power dynamics between races and the sexes, is especially poignant and compelling in the unique and personal setting of New Orleans Creole society in the 1800s,” Hope said.

Loyola’s spring performance of “The Spitfire Grill” casts light on social justice issues —and spotlights the university’s newly-minted Musical Theatre degree.

“The music in this production is uniquely influenced by American folk music and is absolutely beautiful. It is a musical about hope, grace, and the importance of redemption,” Hope said.

Big-Easy award-wining Loyola professor C. Patrick Gendusa will direct the spring production of “The Spitfire Grill.”

Below are all performance details:

Beyond the Horizon by Nobel-Prize winning American playwright Eugene O'Neill. Directed by guest artist Mark Routhier, member of The NOLA Project.

When: Friday, October 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lower Depths Theatre

Details: Beyond the Horizon was Nobel-prize winning playwright Eugene O’Neill’s first full-length play, for which he won the first of his four Pulitzer prizes. Set on a farm in Massachusetts at the beginning of the twentieth century, this riveting drama pits brother against brother for the heart of one woman. It is a powerful, timeless work by America’s greatest playwright, and the father of contemporary American playwriting.

Ticketing: $12 Admission, $8 w/Student ID, Seniors, Loyola Faculty/Staff

The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley, Directed by Dr. Laura Hope

When: Friday, November 11, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 18, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Marquette Theatre

Details: Inspired by Lorca’s classic “The House of Bernarda Alba,” poet and playwright Marcus Gardley sets his adaptation in New Orleans in 1813. Following an era of French colonial rule and relative racial acceptance, Louisiana's 'free people of color' are prospering. When matriarch Beatrice's lover mysteriously dies, Beatrice imposes a six-month period of mourning on herself and her three daughters. But, as the summer heat intensifies, the foundations of freedom she has built for herself and their three unwed daughters begin to crumble. Society is changing, racial divides are growing and, as the members of the household turn on each other in their fight for survival, it could cost them everything.

Ticketing: $12 Admission, $8 w/Student ID, Seniors, Loyola Faculty/Staff

The Spitfire Grill, music and book by James Valq; lyrics and book by Fred Alley; based on the film by the same name by Lee David Zlotoff. Directed by C. Patrick Gendusa.

When: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lower Depths Theatre

Details: Winner of the Richard Rodgers Production Award, administered by The American Academy of Arts and Letters, this musical depicts the journey of a young woman just released from prison who decides to start her life anew in a rural Wisconsin town. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote that “the songs are shiny with tunefulness, hope, and all-American inflections of country and folk.” Also in The New York Times, Alvin Klein declared the show “a soul-satisfying new musical. The Spitfire Grill is a complete work of theatrical resourcefulness. A compelling story that flows with grace and carries the rush of anticipation. The warm, indigenous American folk sound of Mr. Valcq’s score is, harmonically and melodically, as theatrical as it is grass roots. Mr. Alley’s lyrics accomplish the considerable feat of poetically offering inspiration while holding the syrup. The musical is freeing. It is penetrated by honesty and it glows.”

Ticketing: $12 general admission, $8 with student ID, seniors, and Loyola faculty and staff