USD Theatre announces award-winning fare for 2011-12 season

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre will bring to the stage Tony Award-winning musicals, a Tony Award winning contemporary comedy and a stunning British play in 2011-12.

Staged in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts, the season opens with the area premiere of “God of Carnage,” French author Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning dark comedy that features two sets of Brooklyn parents who meet to resolve a schoolyard fight between their young sons. What begins with diplomatic niceties soon gives way to a comical and shocking four-way prize fight as Reza explores humanity’s predilection for destructive behavior. “God of Carnage,” which contains strong language, performs Sept. 29-Oct. 3.

“Avenue Q,” a new musical comedy that features puppets and live performers searching for the meaning of life, draws its inspiration from “Sesame Street.”  Led by Princeton, the cast of characters faces real world problems.  Original songs to be performed include “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” Performances for “Avenue Q,” which contains mature themes and strong language and is not recommended for children, are Dec. 1-5.

Spring semester features “Top Girls,” Caryl Churchill’s stunningly inventive drama that depicts strong women achieving success by adopting the worse traits of self-made men, and the Tony Award-winning musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Set in 19th century London, this masterpiece tells the grisly tale of the unjustly exiled barber who seeks revenge against a lecherous judge. “Top Girls” will be performed Feb. 22-26 while “Sweeney Todd” concludes the main stage season, April 18-22.

In addition to the main stage productions, the Arena Theatre season of plays includes a bill of student-directed one-act plays Nov. 11-13, and “Coyote on a Fence,” Bruce Graham’s penetrating new drama that explores the nature of evil and the death penalty, March 21-24.  Curtain times for performances in the Knutson Theatre and Arena Theatre are 7:30 p.m., except on Sundays when matinee performances start at 2 p.m.  Customers can save 25 percent off standard ticket prices by purchasing season tickets.  To download a season ticket application, please visit www.usd.edu/theatre or call (605) 677-5400.

ABOUT USD

Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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