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April 8, 2011

UMBC Department of Theatre Celebrates a Seventh Performance at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

April 20, 2011, 7:30 p.m., Terrace Theater

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts Management

This release is available as a pdf file.

Photo by Rich RigginsThe UMBC Department of Theatre's production of Las Meninas by Lynn Nottage, directed by assistant professor Eve Muson and originally staged at UMBC in fall 2010, has been invited to the stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as a highlight of the 2011 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The performance will take place on Wednesday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. at the Terrace Theater.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), a national theatre program that annually involves 18,000 students from more than 600 colleges and universities, serves as a catalyst to advance the quality of college theatre. Only four productions each year are invited to the non-competitive national festival at the Kennedy Center, following a lengthy screening process that involves local adjudication and appearances at regional festivals.

"We are delighted and honored to be asked to perform Las Meninas at the Kennedy Center as an example of the high quality theatre being created on campuses throughout the country," said Dr. Alan Kreizenbeck, chair of UMBC's Department of Theatre. "This performance is an extraordinary opportunity for our students to perform on one of the nation's most prestigious stages, and reflects the talents and hard work of our faculty and staff."

Set in the glittering court of Louis XIV, Las Meninas tells the story of the seduction of Queen Marie-Thérèse, and the consequences of her scandalous affair with Nabo Sensugali, her African servant. Irreverent and ironic, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage shines a fiercely imaginative beam on a fascinating but forgotten bit of history that reveals contemporary truths about the racial divide.

Of the play's performance at UMBC in 2010, critic Jack L. B. Gohn of noted, "This is as interesting a play as you are going to see in a while...By the time you walk out, I guarantee you will have gasped more than once at the power of the material on display. Catch it quickly." Mike Giuliano of Patuxent Publishing added, "The UMBC theater department is known for its eye- and ear-catching staging, which certainly proves to be the case here."

UMBC Performances at the Kennedy Center
UMBC's Department of Theatre is no stranger to the Kennedy Center stage. Six previous productions have appeared at the KCACTF, placing UMBC's Department of Theatre among the top programs in the nation ranked by Kennedy Center performances:

    1974 - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown by Clark Gesner, directed by Craig Montgomery
    1978 - Play, Act Without Words II, Not I, Footfalls and Breath by Samuel Beckett, directed by Xerxes Mehta
    1986 - The Importance of Being Oscar by Michael Mac Liammoir, directed by Sam McCready
    1987 - Spring's Awakening by Frank Wedekind, directed by Sam McCready
    1996 - The Diary of a Scoundrel by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Sam McCready
    2003 - Buried, conceived and directed by Colette Searls

Photo by Rich RigginsDirector, Designers, Cast and Crew
Las Meninas highlights the talents of many UMBC students, faculty and staff. The production features direction by Eve Muson, choreography by Renée Brozic Barger, scenery and costumes by Elena Zlotescu, lighting and sound by Terry Cobb, dialect direction by Lynn Watson, dialect coaching by Natasha Staley, stage management by Kiirstn Pagan, technical direction by Greggory Schraven, costume shop management by Shelley Steffens Joyce and wig construction by Celestine Ranney-Howes.

Students featured in the cast include Sadé Stanback, Katherine Kopajtic, Katherine Hileman, Sean McComas. Keilyn Durrel Jones. Megan Mahon, Bradly Widener, Katherine Kopajtic, David Brasington, Justin Ambrose, Sydney Kleinberg, Jessie Poole and Brady Whealton.

About the Director, Eve Muson
Eve Muson is an assistant professor of Theatre at UMBC, where she teaches acting, directing and other performance courses. Her research interests include collaborative playmaking, the development and production of new works, the adaptation of mythological and archetypal stories in contemporary settings, and theatre for young audiences. From 1991 to 2007 she was an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Theatre, where she taught courses in acting, collaborative playmaking, directing, and dramatic literature. At Olney Theatre Center she directed main stage productions of Venus (Suzan-Lori Parks), the musicals Godspell, Big River, and Peter Pan, and her own plays Cinderella and Her Sisters and Pearls From Salt, an adaptation of folk tales about girls entering womanhood.

She has also directed new plays at Boston Playwrights Theatre, dozens of original plays for young audiences at the American Stage Festival (New Hampshire) and Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Craig Lucas's Blue Window). She was twice cited for Outstanding Direction by the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for her work on two new plays, Un Tango En La Noche and a musical version of Jack London's Call of the Wild. In 2007-2009 Muson held the position of Director of the Olney Theatre Institute, the educational and community outreach arm of Olney Theatre Center.

Photo by Rich RigginsAbout the Playwright, Lynn Nottage
Lynn Nottage's plays include Intimate Apparel, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, and Ruined. They have been produced and developed at theatres both nationally and internationally, including the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Goodman Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Center Stage, South Coast Rep, Second Stage, Freedom Theatre, Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, St. Louis Black Rep, Crossroads Theatre, Intiman, San Jose Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf, Yale Rep, The Vineyard Theatre, The Women's Project, New Dramatists Playtime Lab, and The Tricycle Theatre in London.

Nottage is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 MacArthur Fellowship, an OBIE Award for playwriting, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, American Theatre Critics/Steinberg 2004 New Play Award, 2004 Francesca Primus Award, and two AUDELCO awards. She was awarded a 2007 Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowship, 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Black Theatre Festival's August Wilson Playwriting Award and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She is also a recent graduate of New Dramatists.

Tickets, which are $10 general admission, are available through the Kennedy Center Box Office at and will be available at the door.

Public Information
UMBC Department of Theatre -
Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival -

Media Resources
High resolution images:
Photos by Rich Riggins.

Photo by Rich Riggins

Posted by tmoore at April 8, 2011 4:22 PM