Published September 29, 2020
Both Safer and Home and Away will be free of charge online, with donations suggested. The digital platforms to be utilized for global access will be announced shortly.
UB Theatre and Dance Announces 2020 Fall Season
BUFFALO, N.Y. — In these times of uncertainty, the arts offer welcome comfort, perspective, escape, joy and intellectual stimulation.
The University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance will adapt to a virtual format for the fall season’s lineup of musicals, plays and dance performances. Nationally recognized directors and choreographers will work with esteemed faculty and emerging student talent from UB to produce innovative original productions which both entertain and explore the human condition.
The department’s live and pre-recorded segments will be filmed at the UB Center for the Arts on the UB North Campus, in order to observe all social distancing and safety protocols for the best experience for the talented study body and dedicated patrons.
“SAFER: A Virtual Music Review”
Oct. 23, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
Online: Digital Platform TBA
The department’s traditional fall 2020 musical will be a newly conceived virtual musical revue titled, “SAFER”. It includes new songs and poetic work by an exciting line-up of professional music theatre composers and lyricists. The show will include selections from “The Ruminations and Reflections of an Armchair Philosopher” by Nathan R. Matthews, show director and associate professor as well as collaborators Terry Berliner and Peter Haslett Kelly. “SAFER” features a cast of UB performance students enrolled in Matthews’s creative research project course.
The show promises to be fun and topical. In this restrictive time, a unique group of music theatre creatives have been recruited to contribute to the students’ experiences, including: Heath Saunders, composer and lyricist; Kim Saunders, author; Andy Peterson, composer; Erik Ransom, composer/lyricist; Michelle Elliot lyricist, author; Danny Larson, composer and co-Lyricist; Drew Fornarola composer, lyricist; Kristen Rosenfeld composer; and Luanne Rosenfeld author, lyricist.
Nov. 11 - 14, 2020 | 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Nov. 15, 2020 | 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Online: Digital Platform TBA
"Everybody” was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and was first produced off-Broadway by Signature Theatre. It is a contemporary take on one of the oldest plays in the English language, “Everyman.” Originally intended to be performed as part of the spring 2020 season, it was postponed because of COVID-19.
In the original off-Broadway production, many of the roles were cast at random each night via a playful on-stage lottery. This aspect will be retained for the online version of the production.
“The playwright makes clear that the production should be cast with a diverse group of performers, demonstrating the inclusivity its name implies,” stated Lindsay Brandon Hunter, show director, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies. “Where the original play centered the experience of a white, Anglo man as universal, this contemporary work is a comedic and heartfelt exploration of morality that welcomes all kinds of players.”
The lead character is an individual - Everybody - who is called to her final resting place. Everybody protests what she perceives as her random and unfair imminent demise. The 12-person student cast also includes allegorical figures like Friendship, Love, Beauty, Courtship, Kinship, Mind and Stuff. A philosophically puzzled God is accompanied by Death. Time and Love round out the cast.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is an American playwright born in 1984. He won the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play for his plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon”. His play “Gloria” was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a year in which he was also was named a MacArthur Fellow.
“Home and Away: A Virtual Dance Concert”
Dec. 11 and 12, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
Online: Digital Platform TBA
“Home and Away: A Virtual Dance Concert,” will include 50 undergraduate dance majors - from freshman to seniors - as well as works and performances by MFA students. The show will be presented in two formats: “Dance for Camera” from home and recorded performances on campus.
“Half will be created and filmed entirely remotely, by individual dancers working from home, utilizing pre-approved indoor and outdoor locations,” explained Kerry Ring, co-artistic director and clinical associate professor. “We refer to this process as ‘Dance for Camera.’”
“Dance for Camera is very much about each individual student creating and editing their own work digitally,” said Jeanne Fornarola, co-director and clinical associate professor. “It addresses the importance of the dancers learning new skills for a new age.”
“I think we’re going to see a lot of Buffalo in the student videos, like Delaware Park and other familiar landmarks,” added Fornarola. “It will be interesting to see how the landscape and the architecture of the city becomes a part of the dance.”
The second format of the program will take place in the department’s laboratory spaces at the UB Center for the Arts Mainstage and Drama Theatre.
“Some are solo and duo works, with quartets being the largest grouping,” explained Ring. “In all cases our students will be separated by safety partitions, which can double as part of the set design. We’re practicing creativity through great restraint.”
The works will be captured and edited via a multi-camera shoot by the UB Production Group. In addition, Lynne Koscielniak, design technology professor and her students will provide innovative lighting and scene designs to give the production the professional luster which audiences have come to associate with the department’s traditional stage productions.
The Friday and Saturday shows will consist of completely different content, with each online evening performance running approximately 60 minutes.
“It’s a great collaboration with dance faculty and students and our Design Technology counterparts to move dance into the digital age,” said Ring. “Dance for the Camera was already making its way in the field, and now it’s a whole new platform to reach audiences. We’re encouraging young artists to speak their minds through their bodies.”
Ring and Fornarola will both create choreography for “Home and Away,” along with Jenna DelMonte, clinical assistant professor. Other choreographers include MFA dance students Jacquie Cherry, Meg Kirchoff, Kate Mackey and Phil Wackerfuss. The undergraduate students include Stephanie Avila, Daniella Bertrand, Emma Colligan, Alexis Corletta, Homeria Lubin, Mandy McClenigan, Ally Mersereau, Sam Tilley, Kelsey Wegman and Jenna Zavrel.
All fall 2020 performances will be free of charge online, with donations suggested. The digital platforms to be utilized for global access will be announced soon.