The University of Connecticut may be best known for their basketball team, but there's another department that also puts on a show. The Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the producing branch of the Department of Dramatic Arts at UConn, is ready to launch its 2000-2001 season.
Artistic director Gary English and managing director Robert Wildman have two theatres to work with. The Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, where the CRT's Main Stage Series runs, can accommodate a larger audience. And the smaller, more intimate venue, the Studio Theatre, presents The Studio Works Series.
Starting off the Main Stage season will be William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The Bard's classic about a shipwrecked woman who becomes entangled in a gender-bending love triangle will run Oct. 5-15. CRT associate artistic director Eric Hill takes on directorial duties for this production.
Following the Elizabethan classic will be a musical based on the unfinished work of another of England's bard, Charles Dickens. Drood: The Mystery of Edwin Drood is taken from the novel Dickens was writing at the time of his death. As it is incomplete, Drood allows audiences to choose their own ending. James Warwick directs the interactive musical by Rupert Holmes that plays Nov. 30- Dec. 10.
Jumping ahead another two centuries (in just three months), CRT will tackle the second part of the epic drama by Tony Kushner March 1-11, 2001. Angels in America: Perestroika sequels the other part of the "gay fantasia on national themes," Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Kushner received many accolades for the two-parter, including the Best Play Tony for 1993 and 1994 and the Pulitzer Prize. Leah C. Gardiner, who directed the first part last season at CRT, will complete the double play as she directs this season's production as well. Opening the Studio Works series, on Nov. 2 will be Loose Knit by Theresa Rebeck. The comedy about a thirty-year-old woman dealing with sibling rivalry, singledom, and sexually discriminating workplace. Kristin Wold directs the play that runs through Nov. 12.
CRT will then present a classic from the "Father of Absurd Theatre." Eugene Ionesco's Exit the King will run April 5-15, 2001 at the Studio. Robert McDonald will helm the unpredictable comedy about a King faced with life on his deathbed.
Closing out the entire millennial season will be Our Country's Good by Timberland Wertenbaker. Set in late 18th century Australia, a group of convicts and castoffs produce a play in which they discover the duality of their roles and their own lives. The production, headed by CRT artistic director Gary M. English, will run April 26 - May 6, 2001 at the Jorgensen Theatre.
All productions run two weeks each. The complete lineup follows:
Twelfth Night: Oct. 5-15 - Jorgensen Theatre
Loose Knit: Nov. 2-12 - Studio Theatre
Drood: The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Nov. 30- Dec. 10 - Jorgensen Theatre
Angels in America: Perestroika: March 1-11, 2001 - Jorgensen Theatre
Exit the King: April 5-15, 2001 - Studio Theatre
Our Country's Good: April 26 - May 6, 2001 - Jorgensen Theatre
Main Stage or season subscriptions are available, as well as single tickets at the CRT box office in the upper lobby of the Jorgensen Auditorium building on the Uconn campus or call (860) 486-4226.
-- by Ernio Hernandez