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The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance Newsletter Spring 2011

In this issue Texas Talent The Fantasticks 50th Anniversary Remembering Dr. Oscar G. Brockett Fine Arts Library to House Brockett and Hodge Collections Alumni Accolades

Adventures in Motion, 2009.

On behalf of the faculty and students of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance, I send you our greetings from the Winship Drama Building. It is just amazing to think of the fabulous students and outstanding faculty who have walked these halls, performed in these theatres, studied in these classrooms, and helped the Department of Theatre and Dance become one of the best in the United States. I am honored to serve as chair and am excited to be part of this dynamic department. With this newsletter, we are reaching out to you, our Theatre and Dance family, to reconnect alumni with their alma mater and exchange stories and updates. In this issue we will let you know what things we are doing in the department, and in the next issue, we will feature YOU, our alumni. So, please send us your contact information and news of your life and career beyond the Forty Acres. We will do our best to put together a retrospective of our students and faculty through the years, and begin a tradition of connecting Longhorns with their old stomping grounds. Many new and exciting developments are happening in the department. The most important of all is our recommitment to our undergraduate mission. We want the university to be THE place where talented actors, dancers, designers, technicians, and scholars from Texas come to study and train. With new initiatives in dance education, musical theatre training for actors, drama-based instruction in teacher training, and digital technology, members of our staff and faculty will be making visits to every major high school in the state of Texas in the coming months to meet with students. Indeed, our endowment campaign is called “Texas Talent” because we believe that the most talented theatre and dance students in America are in our state, and we are dedicated to bringing them to our department. We look forward to hearing from ALL of you. Hook ‘em Horns!

Dean, College of Fine Arts Douglas Dempster Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance Brant Pope Senior Associate Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance Lucien Douglas To make a gift to the Department of Theatre and Dance Michele Baylor, Director for Development 512.475.6291 To share your alumni news Cassie Gholston, Assistant Chair for External Relations 512.232.5301 The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance I University Station D3900 Austin, Texas 78712 Phone: 512.471.5793 The ENCORE logo is the genius of Harvey Schmidt, artist and composer, BFA 1952.

Brant Pope Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance Z.T. Scott Family Chair in Drama 2

Photo: Sandy Carson, Iris Camille Claudio, Trent Lesikar, J Elissa Marshall, Brenda O’Brian, Mark Rutkowski, Amitava Sarkar, Lauren Tarbel.

Make a Difference This year, The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance is launching our Texas Talent campaign to recruit, support and promote emerging theatre and dance artists of Texas. This is our most important mission and the reason we are devoting our fundraising efforts to supporting the talents of Texas-based actors, writers, dancers, directors, designers and scholars in the performing arts.

Currently, less than 10% of our undergraduate students receive scholarship support. By establishing a number of new endowed scholarships, we will have the opportunity to offer some level of financial support to every undergraduate student in the department. Funds will help the department recruit the most talented, emerging artists from Texas high schools.

All donations are 100% tax-deductible. For more information regarding the Texas Talent campaign, please contact Michele Baylor at 512-475-6291 or email

Make your gift today online at

Our $4 million endowment campaign will provide funds to support: • • •

New works developed and produced at UT Undergraduate scholarships in theatre and dance An exciting and ground-breaking new Musical Theatre Concentration in Acting

The Idiot, 2009.

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Alumni Celebrate The Fantasticks 50th Anniversary By Michael Barnes The Austin American-Statesman Originally published October 17, 2010

We witnessed history. Friday, on the first night of the University Texas’ celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Fantasticks, a perky set of undergraduates performed a sharply contoured revue of songs by Texas exes Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt. The themed portfolio included less than two dozen from the composing team’s 1,000+ songs, written over the course of 60 years. Yet it polished up rare gems, like alternative versions of the “I Do! I Do!” title song and the duo’s work as UT students and cabaret composers in New York City during the 1950s. Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, F. Loren Winship Drama Building Photo credit: Iris Camille Claudio/The Alcalde


At the end of the show, Schmidt and Jones, now in their 80s, met at

the piano (the quieter Schmidt in a wheelchair). They sang four short songs, but — oh! — it was well worth witnessing the composers of America’s longest running play jazzing it up for the crowd. Two instant pleasers were “Mr. Off-Broadway,” their self-descriptive salute to the movement they helped popularize; and “Freshman Song,” the first they ever wrote together, 60 years ago for a wildly popular UT student revue. How many audiences can say they have witnessed the crowning of such a career at one’s alma mater? The song’s shy, hopeful lyrics set loose the waterworks for the assembled guests, mostly alumni who packed the weekend of performances, panels and parties. The subsequent reception in the lobby outside the Brockett Theatre was like old home week for seven decades of theatre and dance students. The eldest member of the Curtain Club — which predated the drama department — spoke of joining in the early 1940s. She was the picture of health, grace and eloquence. (Only star Eli Wallach is an older living alumnus of the club, established in 1908 by critic Stark Young.)

The next morning, UT playwright Steven Dietz delivered a philosophical keynote speech about theatre preparing us “to be.” Texas Performing Arts director and associate dean Kathy Panoff, with help from music director Lyn Koenning, interviewed Schmidt and Jones for a delightful hour of anecdotes and reminiscences. Both Texans retain a ready wit and literate array of references. Playwright Kirk Lynn and arts editor Robert Faires then led a discussion of how new work impacts theatre, dance and training. The verbally gifted panel included choreographer Kitty McNamee, playwrights Robert Schenkkan, Kim Peter Kovac and Carson Kreitzer. They made a convincing case for the act of making something from nothing, rather than just interpreting from the established canon. Costume designer Susan Mickey helped me corral a raucous crew of talents: Bruce McGill (Animal House, The Legend of Bagger Vance); Todd Lowe (Gilmore Girls, True Blood) and Brian Danner (leading Los Angeles fight director). We discussed whether a university

Clockwise from top left Brian Danner (BFA 1996), Dale Inghram (BA 1993) and Eric Glenn (BFA 1995); Todd Lowe (BFA 1999), Associate Professor Stephen Gerald and Charlie Pollock (BFA 1995); Leah Stolar (BM 1982, JD 1985), Avital Stolar (Current Theatre & Dance Student), Kim Peter Kovac (MFA 1975); Wayne Pevey (MFA 1965), Harriett Slaughter (BFA 1958), Richard Johnson (BFA 1958).

arts education was worth nothing — or everything. (We leaned toward the latter, but each speaker noted what they missed during their practical education.) Other panels and student demonstrations honeycombed the Winship Building on campus. More socializing centered around an early-evening performance of The Fantasticks at the B. Iden Payne Theatre. Those around me agreed the material holds up, for something that seemed an enchanting sliver of a musical 50 years ago. The allegorical cycles of youth and age are near-universal, and the writers have updated some of the inevitable anachronisms over the years. It’s been a long time since I attended a conference of any kind. This was the one to choose. I was transfixed the entire time. Learn more about this event online at

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Oscar G. Brockett 1923 – 2010 In Memoriam Professor Emeritus Oscar Brockett, 87, the world’s leading theatre historian and one of The University of Texas at Austin’s most distinguished professors, died on November 7 due to complications following a massive stroke. Brockett was the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards, including the Career Achievement Award from the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, the Texas Educational Theatre Association and the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology. He was also the recipient of multiple grants and fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship, and was a Fellow of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center. In 1998 the College of Fine Arts presented him with the E. William Doty Award, recognizing him as an individual of distinction in his field who has demonstrated extraordinary interest in the college. 6

“Oscar Brockett quite literally invented the study of theatre history,” said Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Brant Pope. “Before his work, we studied the history of the drama, but Dr. Brockett was the first and foremost man of the theatre to write about the relationship between the drama and the production of those works on the stage.” “As was every student of the theatre in my generation, I was introduced to my chosen field by studying the works of Oscar Brockett. How incredibly fortunate I am that this man, who so shaped my understanding of what being a theatre artist means, was also my friend. As I write this, his greatest book, Century of Innovation sits on my desk. At this moment when we grieve his loss, it gives great comfort to think how many future students of the theatre will encounter Oscar Brockett in the ideas, images and imagination he poured into his work.” Brockett was dean of the College of Fine Arts in 1978 and stepped down in 1980 to join the Department of Theatre and Dance and head its doctoral program. Within nine years the doctoral program was the number one theatre history

program in the nation. A prolific and influential author, Brockett wrote several books, including History of the Theatre, (1968) the top-ranked and highest-selling theatre history text of the 20th century. Translated into several languages including Chinese, Arabic, Czech and Farsi, his books have worldwide readership. It is now in its 10th edition and has been a part of every American theatre student’s education for about four decades. “He was a prolific, meticulous scholar into the very last year of his long career,” said Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “Only two weeks ago, his most recent book, Making the Scene, received a book award from the University Co-operative Society. He leaves a legacy that will last as long as his long life. To those whom he touched, he leaves an enormous space in our lives. I miss him sorely.” Brockett grew up in rural Tennessee on a tobacco farm and was the first in his family to attend college, which he left to serve in World War II where he captained a troop transport ship. After the war he returned to his studies and eventually earned his doctoral degree in theatre from Stanford

Dr. Oscar G. Brockett

University. He taught in Iowa, Florida, California, and Indiana prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin as dean of the College of Fine Arts. Brockett is survived by his daughter, Francesca Brockett, and her husband, James Pedicano of Austin. The family has asked that memorial contributions may be made to the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre Production Support Endowment. For information about making a memorial gift, please contact Michele Baylor at 512-475-6291 or by email By Leslie Lyon, Director of Public Affairs, College of Fine Arts

Fine Arts Library to Acquire Collections of Dr. Oscar G. Brockett and Dr. Francis R. Hodge

The papers, photographs and publications of Dr. Oscar G. Brockett and Dr. Francis R. Hodge are finding a permanent home at The University of Texas at Austin Fine Arts Library. The materials will be available to students, faculty and the public beginning in the fall of 2011. “I am thrilled at the thought of being able to store, organize, and protect this material in the Fine Arts Library for theatre researchers everywhere,” explains Beth Kerr, Theatre and Dance Librarian. “The importance of both men’s careers in theatre education and history is undeniable. And since they both spent so much of their careers at UT, it seems only right that their archives should stay here.”

Dr. Francis Hodge was a Professor Emeritus in The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance and served as professor of directing from 1949–79. Among his many scholarly contributions, Hodge supervised more than 100 master’s thesis productions and contributed in an editorial capacity to the Educational Theatre Journal and the Journal of Speech. He is the founder of the American Society for Theatre Research, an organization for theatre scholars that promotes theatre as a field of serious scholarly study and research. Hodge was also a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre Association. His published works include: Play Directing: Analysis, Communication and Style, Innovations in Stage and Theatre Design, and Yankee Theatre: The Image of America on the Stage, 1825–1850, the latter for which he received the Golden Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association. In 1984, the Francis Hodge Endowed Scholarship in Drama was created in his honor to support outstanding directing majors.

What Starts Here Changes the World The leadership, scholarship and passion of Dr. Oscar Brockett and Dr. Francis Hodge have left an indelible imprint on the identity of the Department of Theatre and Dance. In the coming months we will create a Founder’s Wall to be housed in the F. Loren Winship Drama Building, which will honor those who have helped build and shape the department and its mission.

Dr. Francis R. Hodge, teaching class 1963.

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Kevin Adams (BFA in Theatrical Design, 1984) received the 46th Annual Henry Hewes Design Award for lighting design of the Broadway musical American Idiot. He previously won the Hewes Award for Spring Awakening (2007) and Hair (2010). He received the Best Lighting Design Tony Award for American Idiot (2010), The 39 Steps (2008) and Spring Awakening (2007). Kevin Alejandro (BFA, Attended) currently stars as “Jesus Velasquez” in the HBO hit series True Blood, and recently had a recurring role on TNT’s Southland. Sydney Andrews (MFA in Acting, 2010) is starring in ZACH Theatre’s production of Steven Dietz’s play Fiction. Andrews recent performances at ZACH Theatre include Becky’s New Car, Doubt, and Love, Janis. Corey Atkins (MFA in Directing, 2007) is currently assisting the


Alumni Accolades Please share your story with us! Submit a brief summary of your life and career, related photos and information you want share with your former classmates. Submit updates online at or by mail at: The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre & Dance ATTN: Alumni News 1 University Station D3900 Austin, Texas 78712-0340

direction of a new adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and will soon return to New York City to direct a condensed version of Hamlet for Lincoln Center Theater Education and Lincoln Center Institute. In May, he will join the staff of Cleveland Play House as Artistic Associate-Engagement. Wendy Bable (MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth/Directing, 2009) is the producer for Arts Discovery Programs at People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pennsylvania. She was recently selected to represent the United States at the “International Directors’ Seminar” in cooperation with the COMEDIA Theatre in Cologne, Germany. David M. Barber (BFA in Theatrical Design, 1990) served as set designer for the acclaimed play The Orphans’ Home Cycle. It received numerous awards in 2010, including the Best Play award

from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, a Lortel award for Best Play, and a Drama Desk special award presented to the entire creative team. Currently, he is the scene designer for the world premiere of Map of Heaven at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Yvonne Boudreaux (MFA in Theatre, 2007) is Art Director of the Robert Rodriguez film The Legend of Hell’s Gate: An American Conspiracy. The film, scheduled to be released this year, stars Texas exes Kevin Alejandro and Stephen Taylor.

Marie S. Brown (MFA in Directing, 2010) directed a collaborative group of artists at the 808 Gallery in Boston, which was later moved to the Dodge Gallery in New York City. She is also collaborating in a reproduction of her 2009 The University Co-op Presents the Cohen New Works Festival piece The Nomadic Dream Project for the Prague Quadrennial. Jaime Castañeda (MFA in Directing, 2006) is the Atlantic Theater Company’s Artistic Leadership Associate. Castañeda most recently directed American Theater Company’s world premiere of Kristoffer Diaz’s Welcome to Arroyo’s. Clare Croft (PhD in Performance as Public Practice, 2010) received the Sally Banes Biennial Publication Prize for her article “Ballet Nations: The New York City Ballet’s 1962 US State Department– Sponsored Tour of the Soviet Union” published in Theatre Journal.

The Threepenny Opera, 2011.

Kate deBuys (MFA in Acting, 2010) starred in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of In the Next Room or the vibrator play in Washington, D.C. Jeremy Dozier (BA in Theatre and Dance, 2008) stars in the coming of age comedic film Dirty

Theatre and Dance alumni, The Fantasticks 50th Anniversary.

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Girl which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and was recently highlighted at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film will be widely distributed by The Weinstein Company in 2011. Lindsey Ervi (BFA in Theatre Studies, 2006) received the Texas Educational

Theatre Association K-8 Educator of the Year award at the association’s 2011 conference, TheatreFest. Kathryn Flowers (BA in Theatre and Dance, 2010) is the Resident Stage Manager at American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Megan Griffith (BA in Theatre and Dance, 2009) is the Production Assistant for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Arena Tour. Charlotte Griffin’s (MFA in Dance, 2009) film Barefoot Negotiations was featured in the 2010 Oklahoma Dance Film Festival. Deepti Gupta (MFA in Acting, 2004) performed her one-woman show Bodylogue to full houses at The Tank in New York in April 2010. Marcia Gay Harden (BA in Drama, 1980) received the 2011 Texas Cultural Trust’s Texas Medal of Arts for creative excellence, exemplary talents and outstanding contributions to the arts. In 2009, Harden received the Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in God of Carnage. Matthew Herrick (MFA in Acting, 2004) is now assistant professor of musical theatre at the

Canción del Cuerpo (Song of the Body), 2010.


Still Life with Iris, 2008.

University of Northern Colorado School of Theatre and Dance. Alison Heryer (MFA in Scenic/ Costume Design, 2010) is the costume designer of George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance, produced by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at The University of Illinois.

Pride and Prejudice, 2009.

Corey Jones (MFA in Acting, 2007) is a resident faculty member for Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Art’s actor training program. Christa Kimlicko Jones (MFA in Acting, 2004) is founder and associate artistic director of Theatre East in New York. As a producer Christa had the privilege of working

on the Off Broadway productions, Eye of God by Tim Blake Nelson (New York premiere), The Vietnamization of New Jersey by Christopher Durang (New York premiere) and David Wright Crawford’s Harvest (New York premiere). Christa served as Associate Director of Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan from 2005–2008.

Flordelino Lagundino (MFA in Acting, 2004) recently assisted Ping Chong on Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood in New York City where it is was featured in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2010 Next Wave Festival. In the fall of 2010 he assisted James Bundy on Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at Yale Repertory Theatre and directed Far Away by Caryl Churchill at the Yale Cabaret. In April/May of 2011, he will co-direct the musical [title of show] produced by Generator Theater Company and Perseverance Theatre Company. He will play the role of “Algernon” in The Importance of Being Earnest in March/April 2011 at Perseverance Theatre Company.

artist residency at Swing Space by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Julia Lorenz-Olsen (BA in Theatre and Dance, 2008) performed the role of “Ophelia” in Hamlet, staged by Scottish Rite Theatre in Austin, Texas.

Steven Lee (MFA in Costume Design, 2001) was nominated for a 2011 Costume Designers Guild Award in Los Angeles for his work on the hit television show Dancing with the Stars. Luke Leonard (MFA in Directing, 2010) was awarded a six-month Promotional photo for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 2011.

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Todd Lowe (BFA in Drama, 1999) stars as the shellshocked short order cook “Terry Bellefleur” in HBO’s True Blood. Johanna Mckeon (MFA in Directing, 2002) is currently working as associate director on Green Day’s American Idiot on Broadway. Other recent directing credits include the Broadway production of Grey Gardens (Associate Director) and the national tour of Rent (Assistant Director). Talleri McRae (MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth, 2010) is an education associate at Stage One Children’s Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. Angel Mendez Montoya (BA in Dance, 1993) published a new book entitled The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist. Erica Nagel (MFA in Performance in Public Practice, 2008) is a recipient


of the 2010 Theatre Communications Group New Generations Program award. Nagel is working with the McCarter Theatre Center’s (Princeton, NJ) producing director Mara Isaacs in all aspects of creative producing, play development and community engagement.

The Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries tracks the intertwined real-life journeys of three U.S. Marines. Most recently, Schenkkan was honored with a Writers Guild Award for his work on The Pacific. Shaun Patrick Tubbs (MFA in Acting, 2010) has been cast in ZACH Theatre’s production of The Book of Grace, written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks.

Inseung Park (MFA in Theatrical Design, 2005) was nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Scenic Design for The Hiding Place at Provision Theatre. Kate Cullen Roberts (MFA in Acting, 2007) recently made her Broadway debut in the highly acclaimed musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Pamela Ribon’s (BFA in Drama, 1997) book Why Moms Are Weird has been bought by ABC Family and is in plans to be produced as a sitcom. Mark Russell (BFA in Theatrical Design, 1978) is the Producer of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar, a

The Trojan Women, 2009.

festival of new theater from around the world and the U.S. The 2011 festival featured new shows from 11 countries including Chile, Italy, Belgium and Mali. Robert Schenkkan, jr. (BFA in Drama, 1975) received two Emmy Award nominations for Best Writing, Miniseries for his work on The Pacific.

Eric Vera (BFA in Theatre Studies, 2007) received a First Class Teacher award from West Mesquite High School in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a first year teacher. James Walters (BFA in Drama, 1969) designed sets for the television show N.C.I.S. The episode entitled “Borderland” originally aired May 2010. Lauren Williams (BA in Theatre and Dance, 2009) is a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.

Upcoming Department of Theatre and Dance Events Alumni Gatherings College of Fine Arts Alumni and Exes Reception The University of Texas at Austin Visual Arts Center 23rd and San Jacinto Streets Austin, TX 78712 April 5, 2011 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Department of Theatre and Dance Alumni and Exes Reception Café La Bohème 8400 Santa Monica Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90069 May 15, 2011 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Canción del Cuerpo (Song of the Body), 2010

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Performances and Exhibits The University Co-op Presents The Cohen New Works Festival A celebration of new work created by UT students, this year’s festival showcases 36 new works in a one-week spectacle of performance, installations and exhibits. March 28 – April 2, 2011 Sites in and around the Winship Drama Building The Pain and the Itch By Bruce Norris April 27 – May 1, 2011 Lab Theatre

Ears, Eyes + Feet May 6 – 7, 2011 B. Iden Payne Theatre Texas Talent Showcase: Performance Design and Technology An annual exhibition celebrating the work of emerging artists in theatre design and technology. May 2 – 5 and 7, 2011 Opening Reception: May 2, 6-8pm Closing Party: May 7, 6-8pm Oscar G. Brockett Theatre

Clybourne Park By Bruce Norris May 4 – 7, 2011 Lab Theatre


The Fantasticks, 2010

Introducing the 2011 – 2012 Season

The Oscar G. Brockett Theatre Season offers an intimate setting, showcasing the student talent from the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Cherry Orchard By Anton Chekhov September 16 – 25, 2011 La Canción de la Tierra Created in collaboration by Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities and Design and Technology Programs October 7 – 9, 2011 360 (round dance) By Steven Dietz Based on the 1900 play Reigen by Arthur Schnitzler November 11 – 20, 2011

The B. Iden Payne Theatre Season presents full-scale, dynamic productions by renowned artists and combining professional actors with Department of Theatre and Dance students.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” October 28 – November 6, 2011 Red, White, and Swing! An Evening of ‘40s Smash Hits February 24 – 26, 2012 Catalyst Presented by Dance Repertory Theatre Artistic Directors David Justin and Yacov Sharir March 23 – 25, 2012 Love’s Labour’s Lost By William Shakespeare Featuring Guest Director John Langs April 13 – 22, 2012

All titles, dates, venues and directors subject to change. For more information, visit us online at

New Work on Stage

Fall For Dance Presented by Dance Repertory Theatre Artistic Directors David Justin and Yacov Sharir B. Iden Payne Theatre December 2 - 3, 2011 UT New Theatre (UTNT) New plays by 3rd year M.F.A. Playwriting candidates Curated by Steven Dietz Oscar G. Brockett Theatre and Lab Theatre February 17 – 19, 2012 February 24 – 26, 2012 Ears, Eyes + Feet Collaborative works by student and faculty composers, choreographers, and video artists from the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. B. Iden Payne Theatre May 4 – 5, 2012

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