Iowa Summer Rep 2011 Focuses on Family Theme
April 26, 2011
Iowa Summer Rep, the University of Iowa’s professional summer repertory theatre company, has unveiled its summer 2011 “Family Focus” season. The season opens June 21st and includes Paul Zindel’s The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical I Do! I Do!, and Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Lost in Yonkers.
For the past 26 years, Iowa Summer Rep has featured a single playwright, presenting collections of plays by legendary playwrights such as Tennessee Williams (a UI Theatre graduate), David Mamet, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon, as well as seasons featuring newer works by playwrights such as Ken Ludwig, Sarah Ruhl, and Theresa Rebeck.
So why the change to a season featuring three different playwrights?
“Over the years, our audiences have let us know that they’d love to see Summer Rep have a theme-based season some year,” said Iowa Summer Rep Artistic Director Eric Forsythe. “As a vibrant, flexible professional theatre company, we listened.”
“By popular demand,” says Forsythe, “we’re planning a theme-based summer of plays about The Family: what makes a family work, the challenges, the joys, the responsibilities, the love. These wonderful works (including a musical) challenge us all to be better family members and inspire us to persevere in even the hardest times.”
Shattering tradition may not be something you expect of an established theatre company that’s been providing summer theatre since 1921. That’s when E.C. Mabie, the Acting Head of the Department of Public Speaking, formed the “Out-of-Door Players,” a collaboration of the University and the broader community, performing plays in places like the Quadrangle courtyard, City Park, and the slope west of Old Capitol.
But Forsythe underscores the importance of expanding the Iowa Summer Rep offerings to include a wider, family audience. “Be sure to bring the family!” he urges. “There will be lots to talk about on the way home.”
All three productions are suitable for families with children junior high age and up.
Forsythe sums up Iowa Summer Rep’s “Family Focus” season. “There’s a wonderful line in Lost in Yonkers, our third play this season: ‘The one place in the world you’re safe, is with your family…right?’ I’d certainly like to think so.”
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