Spring 2016 Arts Preview

American Idiot at the Keegan Theater features several students and graduates from CUA.
American Idiot at the Keegan Theater features several students and graduates from CUA.

By Maria Rodriguez

The semester begins and the artistic season returns. Unlike some unlucky athletes, the artists get to take a bit of a break over Christmas. The Spring 2016 semester has goodies for everyone, on as well as off campus. From theater to opera, an inverse of the two, and everything in between, the year is starting on a good note. The season highlights are listed below, per discipline:

The respected and well known drama department at CUA isn’t known only for its great actors graduating from the Hartke, we have a strong playwriting program lurking in the old building.

M.F.A. playwriting candidates Lauren Jane Redmond and Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm have written Legacy Street and Br’er Cotton, respectively, which take the stage in February. Both plays sing the song of human desperation; in the case of Redmond’s Legacy Street, it’s about permanence, for Chisholm’s Br’er Cotton, the protagonist strikes out on a moral crusade to proclaim the truth that Black Lives Matter.

It’s 400 years since the Bard passed from this earthly realm and to celebrate his legacy multiple venues around town are putting on Shakespearean celebrations. This includes the Folger Shakespeare Library who is putting up A Midsummer Night’s Dream, running in late January. In the spirit of accessibility, the Folger offers a pay-what-you-can performance on January 26. This hilarious romantic comedy features a stoned fairy, a mischievous pixie, and a royal wedding set in ancient Greece.

Musical Theater
Into the Woods may ring a familiar phrase since the movie adaptation was released for the wider audience in 2012. The CUA Music School will be presenting a production of Sondheim’s beloved musical. An ode to fairytale revisionism, the musical takes all your favorite fairy tale characters and turns their endings upon their heads. Funny, yet dark, it’s classically Sondheim. Previous Sondheim work you may have heard of includes Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Sunday in the Park with George, Company (which CenterStage, CUA’s all student-run theater club, put on a few years ago), and the lyrics of West Side Story. Into the Woods plays CUA February 19 – 28 in the Hartke Theater.
While not on CUA’s campus itself, American Idiot playing March 12- April 9 at the Keegan Theater sure does have a lot of CUA folks in it. Remember punk-rock darlings, Green Day? Such sweet sounds. When Billie Joe Armstrong thought it would be a good idea to turn his concept album into a musical, American Idiot was born amongst angsty stress and post- 9/11 pessimism. Read what you want into the story and the music, but the album is a classic and who among us has not gone days without listening solely to the crooning cries of Billie Joe? Hasani Allen (latest seen as Billy in last year’s Carousel) stars as Tunny, Molly Janiga as his girlfriend Heather, and Harrison Smith as Johnny, one of Tunny’s friends. Fighting against the struggles of suburbian blah, the two boys are part of a trio that searches for meaning in mindless America.

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