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UT theater department to mark 50 years


Singer, actress, and dancer Jasmine Guy will join the Avery Sharpe Trio in ‘‍Raisin’ Cane’ at Ohio Northern University on Jan. 16 in a celebration of the voices of the Harlem Renaissance.


The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will throw itself a party, “50 Years of WOW!,” Sept. 19-21 to celebrate five decades of creativity on stage and in film.

Current and former students and faculty, people who participated in past productions onstage and off, and anyone who has attended UT productions are invited. There will be parties, performances, film screenings, and a dinner program; registration is required. For details of the events go to​comm-arts/​theatrefilm/ or​UTTheatreFilm.

The department is celebrating its past next month, but there is plenty planned for the immediate future. The 2014-2015 season will include five theater productions, two film screenings, and a filmmakers’ showcase.

The theater season opens in October with The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice; it will be directed by UT theater lecturer Irene Alby, who directed last season’s successful Cabaret. This expressionist play is the story of an accountant, Mr. Zero, who finds out he is being replaced by an adding machine and gets revenge by murdering his boss. He is executed for murder and wakes up in the afterlife. The Adding Machine opens Oct 24 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances are Oct. 25, 26, and 31, and Nov. 1-2.

August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, written in 1888, will be staged in November. Miss Julie, feeling trapped by her life on a Victorian-era estate, begins what may become a costly relationship with her father’s valet. Miss Julie opens Nov. 21. Additional performances are Nov. 22-23 and Dec. 5-7.

In December the university presents its annual “24 Hour Plays” on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. The event begins the night before, when actors, directors, and playwrights, both students and the public, are given 24 hours to produce their plays; registration is required. On Dec. 13, audiences can expect to see four to six short plays.

In February, Cornel Gabara, associate professor of theater, will direct Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. The production opens Feb. 20. Additional performances are Feb. 21-22, Feb. 27-28, and March 1.

Closing the 2014-2015 season is an exciting production for all ages of The Immortals. Performed by large-scale puppets created by Erica Frank, a visiting assistant professor of costume design, The Immortals uses mythical stories and fantasy figures to consider our impact on Earth and our duty to protect it. Performances of The Immortals will be April 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

After each play’s opening night performance, the director, cast, and show designers will join in a talk back discussion.

Tickets, $12 general admission, $10 faculty, staff, administration, and seniors, and $7 for students are available at​boxoffice; 419-530-2375, and at the Center for Performing Arts box office at Towerview and West Rocket Boulevard on the university’s main campus.

Films at UT

Brazil (1985), a critically acclaimed film from Terry Gilliam, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in the UT Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Tickets, $5 general admission, $3 for students and seniors, will be sold at the door.

In January there will be a screening of the 1959 classic comedy Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon.

After a juried competition, the best student films, from documentaries to animation, will be screened for the public in the Aspiring Filmmakers Showcase at 7:30 p.m. March 20 at in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Tickets to the film screenings, the 24 Hour Plays, and the Aspiring Filmmakers Showcase are $5 general admission, $3 for students and seniors. Tickets will be sold at the door.

Freed Center

“Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz,” will open the 2014-2015 season in Biggs Theatre of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts at Ohio Northern University, 525 S. Main St., Ada, Ohio, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Schwartz is known for his Broadway music, including music and lyrics for the musicals Godspell and Wicked (a hit song from the show was Defying Gravity.)

Performers will include Kelli Rabke Agresta, who has appeared in Broadway productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Miserables, and Debbie Gravitte, who has performed in nightclubs in New York and London, and has sung with the London Symphony and in PBS TV specials.

Also appearing is Scott Coulter, who starred in A Christmas Carol: The Symphonic Concert, an Emmy-nominated production aired on PBS in 2013.

The Freed Center’s season also will include a one-man performance about war veterans by Stephen Lang on Nov. 10.

Lang will portray servicemen who recall their combat experiences and acts that won them the Medal of Honor.

Singer, actress, and dancer Jasmine Guy will join the Avery Sharpe Trio onstage in “Raisin’ Cane” at the Biggs Theatre on Jan. 16 in a celebration of the voices of the Harlem Renaissance in words, song, music, and movement.

Comedian Dennis Regan, brother of comic Brian Regan, appears Feb. 14 in a performance recommended for ages 16 and older.

Dennis has performed on Late Night With David Letterman and on Comedy Central, and has been a writer for TV‘s King of Queens.

Tickets are available at the Freed Center box office, 419-772-1900, and​freed.

Send theater news two weeks before the event to Sue Brickey at

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