University Theatre opens season with 'James Joyce's The Dead'

Actors rehearsing a scene from 'James Joyce's The Dead.'

The University of Oregon's University Theatre opens its 2016-17 season in November with the holiday-themed play “James Joyce's The Dead.”

The production runs Nov. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 13 at 2 p.m at the UO’s Robinson Theatre. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 seniors (65 +), $10 UO faculty and staff, $10 non-UO students and free for all UO students.

Tickets are available at https://tickets.uoregon.edu/james-joyces-dead or by calling the UO Ticket Office at 541-346-4363.

“James Joyce's The Dead” originally premiered in 1999 at Playwright's Horizons, transferred to Broadway in 2000 with Christopher Walken in the lead role, and had successful runs in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

This musical adaptation of Joyce's masterpiece included in "Dubliners" takes place on Epiphany Eve during the last gathering at the Misses Morkan's home on Usher Island. The Christmas-themed musical is filled with lively Irish music and dance, elaborate period costumes and a full orchestra ensemble.

"I wanted to direct a musical that was heartfelt and graceful," said director Michael Malek Najjar, "because in these cynical and contentious times we need some levity and beauty in our world."

Najjar assembled a talented production team that includes UO School of Music and Dance professors Walter Kennedy and Brian McWhorter; UO theater arts professors Jeanette De Jong, Jerry Hooker and Bradley Branam; and Eugene singer and performer Laura Decher Wayte . The play stars Alex Mentzel (“Glee” and “Feast of Love”) as Gabriel Conroy.

The book is by Richard Nelson, music is by Shaun Davey and lyrics are conceived and adapted by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey. The play is directed by UO theater arts professor Michael Malek Najjar.

University Theatre's 2016-17 season also includes “Emperor of the Moon” by Aphra Behn, “Cinderella Waltz” by Don Nigro, two new student written plays included in the “New Voices New Play” festival, and “Mr. Burns” by Anne Washburn. For more information, visit blogs.uoregon.edu/theatre/