The University of Washington School of Drama Announces 2018 - 2019 Season

The University of Washington School of Drama Announces 2018 - 2019 SeasonThe University of Washington School of Drama, under the leadership of outgoing Executive Director Todd London, incoming Executive Director Lynn M. Thomas and incoming Associate Director Geoff Korf, is pleased to announce our 2018 -2019 season.

"In the course of their time here our students are called to work on as many different forms and styles of dramatic work as possible, and what I love most about our audience is how much they enjoy being on that journey with them," says outgoing Executive Director Todd London, who led the planning for this coming season for the final time before stepping down from his post to return to New York City. "So, this season you will get to see everything from detailed contemporary naturalism with Arthur Miller to 17th century French satire with Molière. You'll get one of the most unflinching political playwrights of our time, Naomi Wallace, and British playwright Githa Sowerby, whose work, despite being transformational one hundred years ago and startling timely today, has been almost totally forgotten. And then, you will experience the vastly different works and worlds of the most influential English-language playwright of all time, William Shakespeare and one of the most influential of our time, María Irene Fornés.

"All of these plays are dealing explicitly with 'men's spheres' and 'women's spheres,' with how gender is constructed and taught, and with the human need to challenge those strictures and build a more fluid world. It feels just right for this particular moment, and we are thrilled to share it with our community."


Guest Director Kelly Kitchens (pictured, left), who is well-known to local audiences for her work at Seattle Shakespeare Company and Seattle Public Theater, where she is co-Artistic Director, will direct our season opener, Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy. Kitchens will also join UW Drama's faculty next year as a guest instructor, teaching directing to undergraduate and graduate students.

UW Drama alum and longtime faculty member Valerie Curtis-Newton (pictured, right), recipient of a 2017 Artist Trust Innovator Award and Head of Directing, will direct María Irene Fornés' most lauded work, Fefu and Her Friends. Our production will join a national celebration of Fornés' work, in celebration of her 88th birthday.

Third-year MFA directors Amanda Friou and Cody Holliday Haefner will both present their thesis productions, with Friou helming Naomi Wallace's In the Heart of America and Haefner directing Rutherford and Son by Githa Sowerby (pictured, left). Our highly competitive MFA directing program accepts only two students every other year, and its recent graduates, including Desdemona Chiang and Malika Oyetimein, are among the country's busiest emerging directors.

Geoff Korf (pictured, below), incoming Associate Director of the School of Drama, will direct a gender-fluid production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with an undergraduate cast. Celebrated local actor and teacher Amy Thone will work alongside Korf as a text and acting coach.

Thone, who has taught acting in the School of Drama as a part-time lecturer since 2013, will join us a full-time faculty member next year.

Finally, internationally renowned teacher of Clown, physical theatre, and games Jane Nichols (pictured, right) will round out the season with a production of the Molière satire The Learned Ladies that she says will "shoot the students into the outer stratosphere." So, that should be fun.

Outside of the Drama mainstage season, our first-year MFA Directors will present one acts in May, 2019. The UW Musical Theater Program-a partnership between the Schools of Drama and Music and the Department of Dance-will present a concert-style evening of songs from current, working musical theatre composers entitled This Moment.

Additionally, we will be joined throughout the year by our Mellon Creative Fellows: Playwright Erik Ehn, playwright/performer Daniel Alexander Jones, playwright/producer Meiyin Wang, designer Shannon Scrofano, and playwrights from New York's Ma-Yi Playwrights Lab, who are all working on long-term artistic research here at the University of Washington. Audiences will have the opportunity to view process presentations of our fellows' work (dates to be announced). To learn more about our Mellon Fellows, visit


For the 2018 - 2019 season, opening nights will happen on Wednesdays, lengthening the run of each show from eight to ten performances, plus two previews. Previews will take place on the Saturday and Tuesday prior to opening (the first preview for Fefu and Her Friends will happen the Sunday prior to opening, due to the Thanksgiving holiday).

Our popular Lobby Talks series will continue next season, with scholars from the UW community discussing topics related to work on our stages. These talks will take place before the first Sunday matinee of each run for Fefu and Her Friends, Rutherford and Son, In the Heart of America, and Romeo and Juliet. We will host post-play conversations for Incident at Vichy and The Learned Ladies, dates and times to be determined.

Access for students continues to be a top priority. Student ticket prices, which were lowered last year, will remain $10 for regular performances and $8 for previews. We will host a community Pay-What-You-Can the second Wednesday of each run.



Incident at Vichy
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Kelly Kitchens
October 24 - November 4, 2018
Previews October 20 & 23
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday October 31st
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse

Guest Director Kelly Kitchens, who is well-known to local audiences for her work at Seattle Shakespeare Company and Seattle Public Theater, among others, directs an all-male cast in our season opener. When it premiered in New York in 1964, The New York Times called Incident at Vichy "one of the most important plays of our time." The questions at the heart of this story-about evil, complicity, self-preservation, and the death of human decency-are perhaps more resonant now than at any time since that first production. In a makeshift police station in 1942 France, a group of men plucked off the street try to figure out why they are there and what fate awaits them behind the interrogation room door, as ominous reports of far-off camps and prisoner-packed cattle cars begin to circulate. By the end of this taut, gut-punch of a play, Miller's ethical barb has pierced us all, compelling us to look inward and ask what we will do when the most depraved human impulses become commonplace, how we will respond in the face of "an ocean of vulgarity."

Fefu and Her Friends
By María Irene Fornés
Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
November 28 - December 9, 2018
Previews November 25 & 27
Pre-Show Lobby Talk Sunday, December 2nd
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday December 5th
Meany Studio Theatre

Professor Valerie Curtis-Newton directs an all-female cast in María Irene Fornés' Fefu and Her Friends. Fornés, the winner of nine Obie Awards, including the award for sustained achievement, has been called "the most important American playwright you've never heard of," and "influential beyond measure." The 87-year-old iconoclast, beloved teacher and mentor to some of contemporary theatre's most exciting writers, is the subject of the new documentary The Rest I Make Up, and 2018 marks a national celebration of her work. Fefu and Her Friends, Fornés' most celebrated work, turns the "ladies who lunch" trope on its head, bringing together an extraordinary-and regular-group of women who, over the course of a weekend in the country, peel away at each other's layers, uncovering both the horrors and felicities of contemporary womanhood.


Rutherford and Son
By Githa Sowerby
Directed by Cody Holliday Haefner
January 23 - February 3, 2019
Previews January 19 & 22
Pre-Show Lobby Talk Sunday, January 27th
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday January 30th
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse

In 1912, a new play by an unknown female playwright took London by storm. Originally scheduled for only four performances at London's Royal Court Theatre, Rutherford and Son by Githa Sowerby quickly transferred to the West End, receiving its New York premiere within the same year. Despite its initial success, Sowerby's shattering drama of family business soon faded into obscurity, and more than half a century passed before it was produced again. Indeed, UW Drama will only be the third company in the United States to ever present this transformational work of contemporary drama. Be assured, time has only sharpened Sowerby's withering, feminist excoriation of the golden age of patriarchy, and the scheming, backstabbing family life that one patriarch wrought-The New York Post called a 2001 production "alive with human passions and tyrannies." The Kardashians ain't got nothin' on the Rutherfords.

In the Heart of America
By Naomi Wallace
Directed by Amanda Friou
March 6 - 17, 2019
Previews March 2 & 5
Pre-Show Lobby Talk Sunday, March 10th
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday March 13th
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse

In the shadow of the Gulf War, a young Palestinian woman's quest to learn what happened to her Marine brother, Remzi, leads her to a Kentuckian Marine named Craver. Through a poetic web of time leaps and apparitions, we see the two soldiers fall in love against the backdrop of war. Woven into that story, the ghost of a Vietnamese mother, Lu Ming, seeks justice for her infant daughter, a victim of the 1968 massacre at My Lai. Obie Award-winning Playwright Naomi Wallace, known for her signature blend of politics, eroticism, and lyricism, here masterfully rings the gong of histories that still reverberate through our national body.


Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Geoff Korf
Text and acting coaching by Amy Thone
April 17 - 28, 2019
Previews April 13 & 16
Pre-Show Lobby Talk Sunday, April 21st
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday April 24th
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse

What if your first love was someone you'd been told to hate? The most famous love story in the English language is not just a love story-it's also a tale of young people attempting to repair the damaged world their parents have offered them. Will their explosive love spark a revolution, or will discord, violence, and unspeakable tragedy continue to rule? UW Drama Associate Director Geoff Korf directs this gender fluid production of Shakespeare's story of the destructive power of binary factions, and the transformative potential of youthful passion.

The Learned Ladies
By Molière, Translated by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Jane Nichols
May 22 - June 2, 2019
Previews May 18 & 21
Pay-What-You-Can Wednesday May 29th
Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre

The Parnell sisters don't always agree. Armande is seeking a life driven by intellectual pursuits, while Henriette wants to follow her heart. Add a set of overbearing parents, some meddling relatives, and a few pompous poets, and you've got one of Molière's most ridiculous satires. Jane Nichols, an internationally renowned teacher of physical comedy and Clown, directs this funny, philosophical play that pits the power of the mind against the passion of the heart. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur's translation of Les Femmes Savantes sparkles-in Nichols' words, "every character is delicious and every scene is a pearl."


Subscription packages and single tickets will go on sale in early September. All subscriptions and single ticket sales are handled through the ArtsUW ticket office. Patrons who would like to be notified when subscriptions and single tickets go on sale can sign up at


The UW School of Drama is consistently ranked among the top theatre training programs in the country. Emerging actors, directors, and designers come from all over the world to study with our world-class faculty and prominent guest artists, such as Erik Ehn, Anne Washburn, Daniel Alexander Jones, and Meiyin Wang. Our audiences are adventurous theatre-goers who want the opportunity to see engaging, provocative, and beautiful work.

As an educational institution, UW Drama is able to produce the types of plays that are harder and harder to find on professional stages: large-cast shows with highly diverse casting, period pieces with opulent, detailed designs, and boundary-pushing plays that test form and style. We produce in three intimate, comfortable spaces on the UW Seattle campus: The Hughes Penthouse Theatre (the first purpose-built theatre-in-the-round in the U.S.), the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, and the Meany Studio Theater.

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