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Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ graces UMKC’s Olson Center

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UMKC theatre presents Shakespeare’s comic romance “Love’s Labour’s Lost” with previews, Industry night, and performances scheduled at 7:30 p.m. from May 2-11, 2014 at the Spencer Theatre, Olson Performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus.

UMKC Theatre closes its season with a classic tale of romance and comic appeal with “Love’s Labour’s Lost” by William Shakespeare, the theatre department announced recently. The performance is directed by Edward Stern, retired Artistic Director from the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Previews run May 2-6 with opening night on May 7 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.

“I love the youthfulness of this play. Not just the youthfulness of the playwright remarkably finding his footing, but how many young characters there are in this play,” Stern said. “Love's Labour's Lost’ is a perfect blend of comedy, romance, and drama and wonderfully suited for the excellent actors at UMKC Theatre,” Stern said.

Stern, who retired from the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (PIP) in 2012 after 20 years of award-winning work, is credited for turning around PIP and transforming the theatre into a financially healthy venue with national acclaim, a spokesman for UMKC theater said.

Written for an audience with Queen Elizabeth, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” was far from Shakespeare’s most favored works. And while it was not performed much in the 19th century, it has become popular material today with several adaptations and productions including the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company,Stephanie Demaree, production dramaturg, said.

“Love's Labour's Lost’ is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth,” according to program notes for the production. “Though first published in quarto in 1598, the play's title page suggests a revision of an earlier version of the play. While there are no obvious sources for the play's plot, the four main characters are loosely based on historical figures. The use of apostrophes in the play's title varies in early editions, though it is most commonly given as ‘Love's Labour's Lost.”

Further, the program notes state: “The earliest recorded performance of the Love’s Labour’s Lost occurred at Christmas in 1597 at the Court before (in front of) Queen Elizabeth, and it was revived by Shakespeare’s company in 1604. After this, there are no recorded productions of the play for over 200 years, with the next revival occurring in 1839 at the Covent Garden Theatre, and another more successful production in 1857 at the Sadler Well’s Theatre.”

The play begins with the King Ferdinand of Navarre and his three noble companions taking an oath to devote themselves to three years of study, promising not to give in to the company of women----then the girls arrive and they all fall comically in love. “Love's Labour's Lost” is full of sophisticated wordplay, puns, and literary allusions that will enchant audiences.

The cast of Love’s Labour’s Lost features Vincent Wagner (King Ferdinand), Jessica Jensen (Princess), Logan Black (Berowne), Jamie Dufault (Dumaine), Antonio Glass (Longaville), Laura Jacobs (Rosaline), Marianne McKenzie (Maria), Jenny Ward (Katherine), and Janae Mitchell (Jaquenetta).

In addition to Ed Stern, the design and production team includes Matt Mott (Scenic Designer), Kate Mott (Costume Designer), Kyle Coyer (Lighting Designer), Alex Glamyan (Sound Designer and Composer), and Stephanie Demaree (Production Dramaturg). The Production Stage Manager is Laura Cheyne and Technical Director is Patti Goebel.

Monday nights are traditionally “dark” as that is the actors’ day off. However, UMKC Theatre offers an Industry Night for each production so that theatre professionals and others will have one opportunity to see UMKC Theatre performances on a Monday. Admission to all Monday night shows is only $10 per person and is open to the general public.

For tickets: Central Ticket Office (816) 235-6222 or online at: tickets.cto.umkc.edu/public. Information Single ticket price* for UMKC campus shows are: Adult: $15 each; Senior/Metro Student: $10; Groups of 10+: $8; Industry Night (Mondays only): $10; UMKC ticket prices (one ticket with valid ID) UMKC Faculty and Staff: $10; UMKC Student: $6; and * $4 per order service fees apply.

UMKC Theatre said that the department has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top graduate theatre training programs in the country. The program trains a select group of highly talented actors, designers, stage managers and dramaturges for careers in the performing arts. UMKC has been designated as Missouri’s Campus for the Arts. More information is available online at: umkctheatre.org.

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