PAD’s 2007-08 season will travel the globe

From classic comedy to cutting-edge drama to original works by students and faculty artists, the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences’ 2007-08 season has something for everyone.

“This year’s season presents a series of voyages to different times and different places,” said Robert Henke, Ph.D., chair and associate professor in the PAD. “We will travel to places as diverse as rural Kentucky, Nigeria, the world of radio during wartime America, the Renaissance city, 18th-century England and the different places of the imagination where dance takes us.

This year’s Washington University Dance Theatre presentation will be “rEvolutions,” from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

“Through theater and dance, we are able to see the world and ourselves in different ways.”

Cindy Kahn, assistant to the chair, notes that auditions for the full theatrical season will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 30-31. Auditions for Washington University Dance Theatre (WUDT), the department’s major dance showcase, will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 4.

“Auditions are open to the entire University community,” Kahn explained. “Everyone is given a chance, not just PAD majors. And for those who don’t want to be in the spotlight themselves, we also need to fill all the design and technical positions — stage managers, scenic designers, costume designers, backstage crew, sound designers and lighting designers. Everyone can participate.”

Pre-registration for auditions is required. Those interested can sign up at the PAD office in Room 312 of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call 935-5858 or stop by the department’s annual welcome party, which will be from 4-6 p.m. Aug. 28 in Mallinckrodt’s A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre.

The PAD season will open Oct. 5-14 with “The 1940s Radio Hour,” Walton Jones’ nostalgic ode to the medium’s golden age. Directed by William Whitaker, senior lecturer in drama, the story follows a group of radio has-beens and wannabes — the jaded producer, the aspiring delivery boy, the hot-tempered torch singer — all attempting to make it big on the “Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade.”

The season continues Nov. 9-18 with “Measure for Measure,” one of Shakespeare’s most confounding “problem plays.” Directed by Annamaria Pileggi, senior lecturer in drama, the plot centers on the plight of Claudio — a young man condemned to death for making his betrothed, Juliet, pregnant out of wedlock — but also explores the nature of power, the relationships between men and women and the battle between justice and mercy.

Next up is “rEvolutions,” this year’s WUDT concert, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Spanning styles of dance that range from ballet to modern to West African, “rEvolutions” will feature student dancers performing professionally choreographed works by both faculty and visiting artists. Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance, serves as artistic director.

Andrea Urice, senior lecturer in drama, will direct Naomi Wallace’s “The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” Jan. 24-27, which explores a small town clutched within the grip of the Depression. Jeffery Matthews, senior lecturer in drama, will direct “She Stoops to Conquer,” the classic 18th century comedy by Oliver Goldsmith, Feb. 22-March 2. From March 28-30, the PAD will present the third biannual “Young Choreographer’s Showcase,” which features original choreography by student artists.

The PAD season concludes April 18-27 with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka’s “The Lion and the Jewel,” directed by Ron Himes, the Henry E. Hampton Jr. Artist-in-Residence as well as founder and producing director of The St. Louis Black Repertory Company. This light-hearted tale examines colonization, culture and gender roles through the story of Lukunle, a Westernized teacher, and his courtship of Sidi, whom he encourages to adopt modern ways.

Tickets to all shows are $15, or $9 for students, children, seniors and Washington University faculty and staff. Subscriptions to three or more events are available for $12 per show. In addition, the PAD offers a special “season pass” to all seven shows for $54.95. A current valid Washington University ID is required. The registration deadline is Sept. 28.

In addition to the regular season, renowned dramaturg Michael Bigelow Dixon, director of studio theater programming and associate artist at the Guthrie Theater, will lead staged readings of three student plays Sept. 25-26 as part of the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival.

The festival will include two full-length plays — “Intelligent Life” by alumna Lauren Dusek (LA ’07) and “Chosen” by senior Noga Landau, both finalists in the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition — as well as one short, “Yelling Man” by senior Lee Osorio.

For more information about the PAD season or to order tickets, call the Edison Theatre Box Office at 935-6543.