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News Release

Moravian College Theatre Company to Open with  Betty’s Summer Vacation

From Reality TV to Fairy Tales, the 2009-10 season out to make sense of the world

Bethlehem, Pa., September 14, 2009—The Moravian College Theatre Company 2009-10 season offers something for everyone with colorful characters—including derelicts, kings, sociopaths, and wizards—showing up in musicals, comedies, and tragedies. As part of Moravian’s continuing effort to share the work of the theatre company with the community at large, conversations with the cast and crew will be held after the Friday night performances of each play—which is new for this year.

The schedule starts with Betty’s Summer Vacation, a play by leading satirical playwright Christopher Dauang. The production will run for five performances in the Arena Theater, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 1-3 at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday, October 2- 3 and 4, at 2 p.m. Because the play is a commentary on our culture’s obsession with the gratuitous, the content is often intentionally offensive.  The play contains extensive profanity and lude behavior, and is appropriate for mature audiences only.

Betty’s Summer Vacation depicts the “tabloidization” of American culture that exploded on television and the media during 1990s—with made for TV stories like the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, the parent killing Menendez brothers; the O.J. trial, various scandals involving Michael Jackson, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. The play exposes people’s predilection for horror and salacious gossip combined with television’s need to attract viewers. The result is a pop-culture that overflows with gratuitous violence, and a society that satisfies it’s habit of looking at human tragedy and bad behavior as a fascinating kind of mini-series.

The plot centers around Betty who is looking forward to her summer share at the ocean. But Trudy, whom she knows only slightly, chatters incessantly; and then there are the other housemates:  sexy lout Buck, who's pathologically on the make with women all the time; and sweet, withdrawn Keith who carries a shovel and a mysterious hatbox and just may be a serial killer. Then the emotionally anarchic landlady, Mrs. Siezmagraff, moves in too; and she invites a crazy derelict to dinner, and, well, the vacation becomes more and more of a strain for poor Betty. Not to mention there seems to be a laugh track coming from a TV that no one seems able to turn off.

“This season includes a larger number of productions, and specifically more student-initiated projects than we’ve typically had in the past including two student directed plays and a student cabaret,” said Christopher Shorr, artistic director of the Moravian College Theatre Company, and assistant professor of Theatre Arts. “I’ve been encouraging students to ‘pitch’ their own ideas and take the lead in doing theatre at Moravian. The result is two student-directed plays and a student cabaret.”

Directed by Moravian College senior Becky Kolacki, The Fountain of Fair Fortune runs from November 12 to the 15.  It is  a workshop production of a 20 minute “wizard rock opera” written by Harry Potter fan Lena Gabrielle, and based on the story by the same name in the book The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by JK Rowling— and is loosely related to the Harry Potter series.

Moravian is continuing to partner with Touchstone Theatre on some of the technical aspects of production. Touchstone staff will provide technical direction for the College’s full productions, and—taking the collaboration between Moravian and Touchstone to the next level—for one night only on January 28, the Touchstone will presentClytemnestra’s Daughters, a concert reading of a new play written and directed by Christopher Shorr adapted from three Greek tragedies. The play will be performed by a cast of Touchstone Theatre ensemble members and apprentices combined with Moravian Students. The play will be held at Touchstone Theatre in south Bethlehem.

Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot will run from February 18 to 21. Described as aquintessential existential absurdist play, the story tells of two characters who wait on a road for a mystery person named Godot.  Open to interpretation, the play raises questions about meaning and meaninglessness in life.  Directed by Moravian College sophomore Alanah Cervantes, the play will be performed in the Arena Theater.

The Clean House written by Sarah Ruhl will run April 8 to 11.Ruhl isconsidered by many to be one of the top new voices in the American theatre, directed by Christopher Shorr, its’ a romantic comedy about a physician who can't get her depressed Brazilian maid to clean her house...because the maid would rather  be dreaming up the perfect joke.

The Theatre Company will celebrate the coming of spring and the end of the school year with an evening of performances by Moravian students.  Student Cabaret  will run April 22 to 25. There will be singing, dancing, comedy, and monologues by Moravian’s talented student performers.

General admission tickets vary depending on the performance. Reduced rates are available for groups of 10 or more.  The Arena Theater is located on the lower level of the Haupert Union Building on Moravian’s North Campus.  For further information or ticket reservations, call 610-861-1489. For more information, visit: www.moravian.edu/theatre

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.