WCU’s School of Stage and Screen announces 2011-12 Mainstage lineup

Western Carolina University soon will be opening up its doors to kick off the University Theatre’s Mainstage season.

The 2011-12 season includes four shows – two musicals and two comedies.

This season will open with the play “I Hate Hamlet,” directed by faculty member Claire Eye and written by Paul Rudnick. The New York Times describes the play as “unapologetically silly and at times hilarious.… Affectionately amusing about the theatre.” The play tells the story of hot, young television star Andrew Rally, who finds his career in limbo when his series is canceled. After relocating to New York, he is offered the role of Hamlet on stage. His life gets more complicated after meeting his roommate, the drunken ghost of John Barrymore.

Show dates for “I Hate Hamlet” are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 5-8, in Hoey Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, faculty, staff and seniors. Student tickets are $7 if purchased in advance.

Next on the playbill is “Sweeney Todd,” a musical written by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Terrence Mann, WCU’s Plemmons Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre, will direct. “Sweeney Todd” is the winner of eight Tony Awards and two Golden Globe Awards and is acknowledged as one of the most acclaimed theatrical works of the 20th century. In the play, Sweeney Todd returns to the seedy underworld of 19th-century London. His savagery soon finds its equal in Mrs. Lovett, who wastes nothing of the barber’s recently deceased clients.

Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 10-12, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for faculty, staff and seniors. Student tickets are $10. Tickets purchased early by students are $7.

The third show of the season, “Music Is” by George Abbott, is based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The play features music by Richard Adler with lyrics by Will Holt. A guest director has yet to be announced. The production, a tangled comic mayhem of mistaken identity and ever-shifting affection, will be the first revival in the world since the Broadway premiere in 1976. The play is based on a score among the vast files of the Rodgers and Hammerstein archives at the Library of Congress.

Show dates are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, with a matinee at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5. Both showings will be in the Bardo Center. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for faculty, staff and seniors. Student tickets are $10. Students can buy their tickets in advance for $7.

Wrapping up the Mainstage season is a modern retelling of “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, directed by faculty member D.V. Caitlyn. This loud and bawdy version of the Bard’s classic comedy has been billed as “Shakespeare meets ‘The Sopranos.'” Petruchio, on the hunt for a wealthy wife, sets his eyes on the fiery-tempered Katharina, and while he may be able to win her for his wife, he struggles to win her heart.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 22-24, and a matinee at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 25, in the Bardo Arts Center. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for faculty, staff, seniors and students. Students can purchase tickets for $7 in advance.

Mainstage season subscriptions for all four shows cost $50 for adults, $40 for seniors, faculty and staff and $20 for students (a 30 percent savings over individual prices) and will be available Aug. 16 to Oct 5.

In addition to the Mainstage season, the School of Stage and Screen will present two special events: a radio adaptation of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and the fourth annual Controlled Chaos Film Festival, featuring student films, on Friday, April 27. All seats for both shows, to be held at the Bardo Arts Center, are $10. These events are not included in the subscription price.

To order tickets, or for more information about the season, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or online at fapac.wcu.edu.