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Tony Nominee Wilson Milam to Direct THE BEGGAR'S OPERA at UW School of Drama, 4/23-5/4

Wilson Milam, a native of the Seattle area and a Tony-nominated director who has worked nationally and in the United Kingdom, returns to the Seattle area to lead a cast of nineteen UW School of Drama undergraduates in tackling Vaclav Havel's The Beggar's Opera.

"It's a joy to come back to Seattle, and to bring my outside experience to the work here with these young actors and designers who are defining their course in life and learning their craft," says Milam. Milam's Tony nomination came for his direction of Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which he brought from London to Broadway. He has also directed several plays at Seattle Repertory Theatre; most recently God of Carnage during the Rep's 2010-2011 Season.

"He holds us to a very high standard," says senior Hannah Ruwe of working with Milam. "As students, it's a really good challenge to operate and push ourselves to a higher, more professional standard."

The Beggar's Opera was written by former Czech Republic president, political dissident, and playwright Vaclav Havel. Havel borrowed characters and plot elements from the iconic 18th century The Beggar's Opera by John Gay and the more recent Three Penny Opera by Bertolt Brecht to create an entirely new commentary on 20th century society. This updated non-musical version of The Beggar's Opera is set in a farcical underworld where no one can be trusted.

The Beggar's Opera is in previews April 23 & 24 and runs April 25 - May 4. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets range from $10-20 and are available online or over the phone through the UW Arts Ticket Office, 206-543-4880 / The UW Arts Ticket Office is located at 1313 NE 41st Street, open Monday-Friday, 11 am-6 pm.

Performances are in the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, located 4045 University Way NE.

About Wilson Milam: Wilson Milam returns to Seattle after directing God of Carnage, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Seafarer at the Seattle Rep. Other US credits include The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Atlantic/Broadway NYC [Tony Nomination Best Director], Mark Taper, LA [Saturn Award Best Production]); God of Carnage (The Alley Theater); A Perfect World (Cherry Lane); Poor Beast In The Rain (Matrix); Three Changes (Playwrights Horizon); Closer (Berkeley Rep); Bug (Woolly Mammoth); Killer Joe (Next, Chicago; 29th St Rep/Soho Playhouse, NY); Pot Mom (Steppenwolf); and The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (Red Orchid, Chicago). UK and Ireland credits include: Harvest, Flesh Wound, Fresh Kills (Royal Court); Lay Me Down Softly, Defender of the Faith, On Such As We (Abbey); Othello (Shakespeare's Globe); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (RSC Stratford/Barbican/Garrick); Hurlyburly (Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic/Queens); True West (Bristol Old Vic); A Lie of the Mind (Donmar); Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville); The Wexford Trilogy (Tricycle); Chimps (Liverpool Playhouse); Bug (Gate, London); and Killer Joe (Traverse/Bush/Vaudeville). Other: Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka (BBCi).

About The University of Washington School of Drama: The UW School of Drama transforms artists and scholars into singular, innovative and courageous professionals, poised to be the creative leaders of tomorrow.

For almost 75 years it has served as one of this country's leading training institutions for theatre artists and scholars. Twenty one faculty and twenty staff members serve 150 undergraduate majors and 45 graduate students. For 20 years Sarah Nash Gates has led the department as Executive Director. The 2013-2014 Season marks her final season at the University of Washington as she prepares for retirement at the end of the 2014 school year.

The School of Drama offers MFA degrees in acting, design, and directing, a four-year undergraduate liberal arts education in Drama or Musical Theatre, and a PhD in theatre history and criticism. Internationally, students may study and present work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and in Pontlevoy, France as The Drama Collective. Faculty and alumni have founded theatres such as ACT (Seattle), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Empty Space Theatre, Wing-it Productions, and most recently, the Washington Ensemble Theatre and Azeotrope.

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