Current VPA News

Joseph Whelan

The Department of Drama packs three musicals, a wild comedy, a classic Shaw and a never-before-produced contemporary comedy into a season full of surprises and infrequently performed theatrical gems. Beginning with the musical "Nine," the 2016-2017 season includes "Laura and the Sea," "Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins" (co-produced with Syracuse Stage), "The King Stag," "Major Barbara" and "From Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: A Musical Voyage."

The season opens on September 30 and concludes on May 13, 2017. The six shows are available on subscription for $99. Discounted subscriptions, $89, are available for seniors, students, and new this season, for Syracuse University employees. The Department of Drama is also introducing a flexible ticket package, Flex 4Pack, for $60. Flex 4Pack tickets are not valid for "Mary Poppins."

“As always, our season will provide a wide range of entertaining and provocative evenings in the theater,” says Ralph Zito, professor and chair of the Department of Drama. “I hope that our new Flex 4Pack and Syracuse University employee subscription options will mean that even more people have the chance to enjoy the work of our talented young artists.”

Book by Arthur Kopit
Music and lyrics by Murray Yeston
Adaptation from the Italian by Mario Fratti
(Based on Fellini’s "8 ½")
Directed and choreographed by Anthony Salatino
Musical direction by Brian Cimmet
Performed in the Archbold Theatre
September 30 – October 8

Based on Federico Fellini’s famous film "8 ½," this spectacular musical delighted Broadway theatergoers in 1982 and in a hit revival in 2003. Celebrated film director Guido Contini is suffering from a creative block and is having trouble with the women in his life—his wife, his mistress, his muse and his producer. As he attempts to develop a script and untangle his complicated relationships, Guido looks back on his life and finds the inspiration he needs: his next movie will be a musical version of the Casanova story. Fantasy, comedy, a delightful score and romance mix together in this lush musical.

Laura and the Sea
By Kate Tarker
Directed by Katherine McGerr
November 4 – 13

Join us for a first look at a new play by a fresh new voice in the American theater. It’s company outing day, and Laura, one of the top travel agents of her generation, is having the best/worst day of her life. So much so that she decides to end it all. Afterwards, her colleagues try to piece things together on a memorial blog, but how do you mourn someone you didn’t know that well? "Laura and the Sea" is many things: a comedy about depression, a meditation on human connection in the digital age and a treatise on travel agents who don’t travel. 

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins
A musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film
Original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Book by Julian Fellowes
New songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
Directed by Peter Amster
Choreography by Anthony Salatino
Musical direction by Brian Cimmet
Co-produced with Syracuse Stage
Performed in the Archbold Theatre
November 26 – January 8

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! The sound of it may be atrocious but it is synonymous with this beloved family musical. The Banks children, Jane and Michael, have been positively beastly to a series of nannies. Enter (from above) Mary Poppins with her magic tricks and common sense know-how to charm children and grown-ups alike and remind them and us how important they are to each other. Winner of multiple Tony Awards, "Mary Poppins" is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stage magic.

The King Stag
By Carlo Gozzi
English version by Albert Bermel
Directed by Felix Ivanov
February 17 – 26

One of the best known plays of the Commedia del'Arte form, Gozzi's magical tale brings to life King Deramo, his faithful wife Angela, his treacherous prime minister Tartaglia, several hare-brained members of his court, a magician, a parrot, magical stags and a giant bear. A fairy tale for all ages, "The King Stag" captures the sheer fun and bracing physicality of the Italian comic tradition.

Major Barbara
By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Gerardine Clark
March 31 – April 9

"Major Barbara" presents Shaw at his provocative, powerful and astonishingly funny best. Andrew Undershaft is a highly successful arms manufacturer. His estranged daughter Barbara has devoted her life to saving souls with the Salvation Army. When Andrew’s wife and Barbara’s mother, the formidable Lady Britomart, reunites father and daughter, she initiates a battle of wills and wits that has each convinced the other can be converted. Right, wrong, good, evil, moral or immoral—it all gets turned topsy-turvy when Shaw sets his characters in motion.

From Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: A Musical Voyage
Music by Kurt Weill
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Bertolt Brecht, Ira Gershwin, Michael Feingold, Ogden Nash, Maxwell Andersen, Marc Blitzstein, Jacques Deval, Paul Green, Langston Hughes, George Tabori, and Arnold Weinstein
Text format by Gene Lerner
Musical arrangements by Newton Wayland
Originally directed by Donald Saddler
Originally produced by Gene Lerner and Hank Kaufmann
Directed by David Lowenstein
Musical direction by Brian Cimmet
May 5 – 13

In this review-style musical, Kurt Weill's greatest theater songs are presented in a fluid blend of music and story spanning 20 eventful years, from 1930s Germany to 1950s America. Climb aboard the musical vessel that is Kurt Weill's rise to international acclaim as his world travels are described with engaging narration surrounded by songs from his most noteworthy works. "The Threepenny Opera," "Knickerbocker Holiday" and "Lost in the Stars" are among more than a dozen Weill pieces referenced as Weill's partnerships, musical and romantic, are explored. An intoxicating retrospective and a joyous and moving celebration of one of the most extraordinary composers of the 20th century.