June 8, 2004

Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, (785) 864-2684.

Kansas Summer Theatre at KU offers 'Romance' in June, July

LAWRENCE -- Kansas Summer Theatre at the University of Kansas is offering "A Summer of Romance" for its 2004 season. The long-running theatre program, presented by the KU Department of Theatre and Film and the University Theatre, opens in late June with "Romance Romance," the first of two plays this summer.

The musical, which features lyrics and book by Barry Harman and music by Keith Herrman, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 25, 26, 29, and 30, and July 1, 2 and 3, and at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 27, on Stage Too! in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

John Staniunas, associate professor of theatre and film and artistic director of the University Theatre, is directing and choreographing the production. Musical direction is by Michael D. Johnson, Marian, Iowa, doctoral student. Delbert Unruh, professor of theatre and film, is designing scenery and lighting, while costume design by is Sandy Appleoff, Falls City, Neb., graduate student. Wigs for the show are being designed by Jan Delovage, a Kansas City-based professional designer.

"Romance Romance" is a two-part show, performed entirely with four actors.

It opens with "The Little Comedy," based on the short story by Arthur Schnitzler and set in 19th-century Vienna. Alfred and Josephine are discontent with their lives: He is a wealthy young man, tired of women's only wanting him for his money; she is a woman used to wanting men for their money. They try to sort out their problems by dressing down and walking in the park, hoping for something different to happen. When they meet each other, she pretends to be a poor girl, working in a millinery shop, and he tells her he is a starving poet. Each falls madly in love with the other's assumed persona.

The second act, "Summer Share," is based on "Pain de Menage" by Jules Renard. Set in contemporary times, when two couples rent a summer cottage in the Hamptons, the comedy looks at best friends Monica and Sam, who seem to be happily married to Lenny and Barb. But when their spouses, exhausted from the day, go to bed, leaving the friends alone, Monica and Sam agree they are living proof that platonic relationships between men and women are possible. When the talk turns to the idea of having affairs and the two taunt each other about their fidelity, the unseen "ghosts" of their spouses aren't so sure and the air becomes uncomfortable as the two "platonic" friends realize they are interested in more than just friendship.

Staniunas said Unruh's stage design is unusual. The different locations of the two plays remain stationary, while the audience is revolved around.

"Romance Romance" deals with adult subject matter and includes cigarette and cigar smoking.

General admission tickets are on sale at University Theatre, (785) 864-3982; the Lied Center, (785) 864-ARTS; SUA, (785) 864-7469; and online at kutheatre.com. Tickets are $12 for the public, $11 for senior citizens, $10 for KU and other college students, and $6 for children in grades K-12.

Next up in the "Summer of Romance" theme will be the Oliver Goldsmith comedy "She Stoops to Conquer," July 16 through 25 in the William Inge Memorial Theatre at KU.

Members of the cast for "Romance Romance" are listed below by name, year in school, parents' names, high school and role:

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
Julia Elise Hardin, May 2004 graduate, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hardin; Free State High School; Josefine Weninger and Monica.
Dylan Hilpman, sophomore, son of Dwight and Peggy Hilpman; Lawrence Free State High School; Alfred Von Wilmers and Sam.
Ashley Lafond, senior, daughter of Mark and Alea Lafond; Lawrence Free State High School; Her, Mitzi, Lina and Barb.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Olathe
Eric F. Avery, sophomore, son of Mary Ann Avery and John and Vivian Avery; Highland Park High School, Topeka; Him, Fritz, Emil, Lars and Lenny.

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