University Theatre season opens with ‘Picnic’

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University Theatre season opens with ‘Picnic’

Season tickets are on sale for University Theatre’s 2009-10 productions at California State University, Fresno, with a mix of the familiar and the less-so, and a milestone celebration for one director.

The season begins Oct. 2-10 with “Picnic,” William Inge’s story about a mysterious stranger and the women whose lives are affected by his visit to a small, Midwest town. The play debuted in 1953 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Thomas-Whit Ellis, a Theater Arts professor at Fresno State, directs the student production. Ellis’ most recent play for University Theatre was “The Piano Lesson” in February, featuring veteran character actor Tucker Smallwood with the student actors.

Another highlight of the University Theatre season will be Dr. Ed EmanuEl’s final Fresno State production, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” by Bertolt Brecht. EmanuEl, a professor of Theater Arts, is retiring after 40 years on the Fresno State faculty.

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” will debut Dec. 4. Discounted tickets will be available to theater arts alumni EmanuEl has taught through the years. The play runs through Dec. 12.

University Theatre also presents Portable Dance Troupe in “The Body Electric,” an innovative presentation Feb. 12-20 choreographed by Theater Arts professor Ruth Griffin.

The other 2009-10 University Theatre productions are:

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“Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter” by Julie Marie Myatt, directed by Kathleen McKinley, Oct. 30-Nov. 7.

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“Heathen Valley” by Romulus Linney, directed by Brad Myers, March 12-20.

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“Time Again in Oz” by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Susan L. Zeder with music by Richard Gray, directed by J. Daniel Herring, May 7-15.

Performances begin at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Season tickets: $75, general admission; $65, Fresno State faculty/staff, Alumni Association members, seniors (60+) and non-Fresno State students; $50, Fresno State students. Single-performance tickets will go on sale Sept. 21. ID must be presented to claim discounted tickets.

Tickets can be purchased noon-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at the University Theatre Box Office at the north entrance of the Speech Arts Building. Call: 559.278.2216.

Ticket order forms and more information are available at csufresno.edu/theatrearts.