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JMU School of Theatre and Dance

2016-2017 Season 

Mainstage Theatre

Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre

Studio Theatre

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Mainstage Theatre

Attack Theatre
Headlining the New Dance Festival

Friday-Saturday, September 9-10 @ 8:00 pm

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Attack Theatre is a Pittsburgh-based dance company known for its ability to “attack” performances with “ninja-like intensity”(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Founded in 1994, Attack Theatre infuses passionate dancing with a theatrical flair, original live music and multimedia elements to inspire audiences in the United States and abroad. This year’s New Dance Festival features works by Attack Theatre and JMU’s award-winning dance faculty members Ryan Corriston, Shane O’Hara, Kate Trammell, Suzanne Miller-Corso and Cynthia Thompson. JMU dance alumnae Julia Vessey and Sarah Gosselin will perform a new duet created by Miller-Corso, and Thompson will perform a comedic solo by Shannon Hummel, dance alumna and director of Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance in Brooklyn.

Serpentine Pink

by Megan Breen


Tuesday-Saturday, October 4-8 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, October 9 @ 2 pm

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World Premiere!
In the weird, wild west of the Joshua Tree desert, a venomous combustion of lust, love, pain, and desire weave a darkly seductive tale as a beautiful biker named Jaymee tries to win back her adorably trailer park lover, Henrietta, after a jealousy-fueled attack.  With the cosmic aid of an ethereal psychic, Andra, and her devoted companion, Shaman, supernaturally emotional forces emerge in their pursuit to heal.  Written in the style of "desert noir," Serpentine Pink is a new play written by Los Angeles playwright Megan Breen; this will be the play’s premiere production.
Adult content and language

Children of Eden

Book by John Caird
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Based on a concept by Charles Lisanby


Friday-Saturday, October 14-15 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday, October 15-16 @ 2:00 pm

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From the composer of the wildly popular Wicked, Godspell and Pippin comes a joyous and inspirational musical about family and faith. Based on the Book of Genesis, Children of Eden is a candid, heartfelt, and often humorous look at the age-old conflict between parents and children. Adam, Eve, Noah, and the “Father” who created them, must respond to the headstrong, devastating actions of their offspring—and learn valuable lessons about parenting, forgiveness and love along the way. Features JMU theatre and musical theatre students.

Over his nearly 50-year career, Charles Lisanby became inarguably the most influential scenic designer ever. In 2010, Lisanby donated his life’s work to JMU. His sister-in-law Gladys, a JMU alum, and her late husband James created a Dean’s Scholarship for students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The James and Gladys Lisanby Museum, which supports JMU’s Madison Arts Collection, and the Gladys Kemp Lisanby Library in JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance are named in Gladys’ honor. 

The Tempest

By William Shakespeare

Tuesday-Saturday, November 1-5 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, November 5 @ 2:00 pm

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The Tempest tells the story of Prospero, an embittered father and exiled magician. One of Shakespeare’s last plays, The Tempest puts on a collision course a ship of nobles, a horde of frightening and fantastical island creatures, a handful of would-be murderers, two bumbling clowns, and a pair of teenage lovers, all of whom Prospero must maneuver as he charts his way to vengeance or forgiveness. Features students from JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance.

Featuring JMU's Virginia Repertory Dance Company

Thursday-Saturday, December 8-10 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 11 @ 2:00 pm

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Choreography from across the country takes center stage as JMU’s premier dance ensemble performs work by recognized guest artists including New York choreographers Netta Yerushalmy and Kelly Bartnik, a JMU alum and former member of Virginia Rep. The company will also perform pieces by artistic director Shane O’Hara and dance faculty member Cynthia Thompson, as well as works by Pittsburgh’s Attack Theatre, University of Florida faculty artist Ric Rose, and San Francisco-based movement artist Christy Funsch, who was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine in 2014 for her “impeccably crafted movement.”

Guys and Dolls
A Musical Fable of Broadway

Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon
Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows

Tuesday-Saturday, February 21-25 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, February 25 @ 3:00 pm
Sunday, February 26 @ 2:00 pm

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Roll the dice and fall in love with one of the greatest musicals of all time! This American classic, set in New York City around the same time it opened on Broadway in 1950, features an eclectic ensemble of high-rolling gambler “guys,” well-meaning missionary “dolls,” and brassy-voiced showgirls in a toe-tappingly fun and romantic fable about gambling men and the strong-willed women who love them. With several London and Broadway revivals, Guys and Dolls has won 9 Tony Awards, 8 Olivier Awards and 7 Drama Desk Awards, and features an upbeat, unforgettable score than includes hits like “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Take your chances on this “perfect musical comedy!” Features students from JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance.

New Voices in Dance
Featuring JMU's Contemporary Dance Ensemble

Thursday-Sunday, March 30-April 2 @ 8:00 pm

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Come and witness the rising talent of the next generation of choreographers in this concert featuring works by selected JMU dance majors. The performance will also include dances by world-renowned choreographer Doug Varone, up-and-coming New York-based Nadia Tykulsker, and faculty artist Shane O’Hara.


By William Inge

Tuesday-Wenesday, April 25-26 @ 8:00 pm
Friday-Saturday, April 28-29 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, April 30 @ 2:00 pm

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Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play

It’s Labor Day, 1953, and as summer gives way to autumn and freedom to the obligations of work and school, an 18-year-old girl watches the changes from her front porch: her boyfriend preparing to leave for his last year of college, a sister discovering her femininity, a couple tussling over whether to wed, a new teacher about to begin her first job—and a stranger who walks into her small Kansas town. Suddenly it seems everything she knew is open to question. Who can be trusted? What is beauty really worth? What obligations go with independence? Madge has just one day to find her answers or let the possibilities slip away. Features students from JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance.


Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre

Fall Student Dance Concert

Wednesday-Saturday, November 9-12 @ 8pm
 This showcase of new choreography offers audiences an opportunity to see the work of the Dance program’s talented young artists.

Senior Dance Concert

Thursday-Saturday, February 9-11 @ 8pm
JMU’s senior dance majors are on the verge of graduation and entering into their exciting careers as dance artists. Come watch them as they showcase their amazing work in this annual concert.

AXIS Dance Company

Wednesday, March 1 @ 8pm

AXIS is one of the world’s leading and most innovative ensembles of dancers with and without disabilities. Paving the way for physically integrated dance, AXIS transforms perceptions of dance and disability. This moving performance features a new dance theatre work called To Go Again, a collaboration between AXIS and San Francisco-based choreographer Joe Goode that brings to light issues facing our nation’s veterans and addresses their resilience following severe life changes. AXIS has performed in more than 100 cities nationwide and internationally in Europe and Russia. The troupe has been featured twice on the FOX hit television show, So You Think You Can Dance.

A talk-back with company members will follow the performance. The AXIS residency is supported by the CVPA Cultural Connections Artist-in-Residence Grant, a JMU Student Affairs and University Planning Innovation Grant, and the Office of Disability Services.

Spring Student Dance Concert

Wednesday-Saturday, April 19-22 @ 8pm
This exciting concert features talented young dancers and choreographers from JMU’s Dance program.

Studio Theatre

Bad Jews

by Joshua Harmon

Friday-Tuesday, September 9-13 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, September 11 @ 2 pm

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The night after their grandfather's funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. In one corner is Daphna Feygenbam, a "Real Jew" who is volatile, self-assure and unbending. In the other is her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man, who has his shiska girlfriend, Melody, in tow. Stuck in the middle is Liam's brother, Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray. When Liam stakes claim to their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues.
Adult content and language

Bad Jews is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.


by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Friday-Tuesday, October 21-25 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, October 22 @ 2 pm

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A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into Jerusalem...The year is 1192 AD, and a crusader has fallen in love with the daughter of a Jewish tax collector. Meanwhile, the Islamic Sultan of Jerusalem is pondering the meaning of these Holy Wars and decides to enlist the wisdom of someone most strange.  In this literary classic, these musical and witty characters ask if peace in the Holy Land is possible - a question that continues to baffle us today.

Virginia Wolfe's

adapted by Sarah Ruhl

Friday-Tuesday, November 11-15 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, November 13 @ 2 pm

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In her stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf's gender-bending, period-hopping novel, award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl "is her usual unfailingly elegant, unbeatably witty self, cleverly braiding her own brand-name wit with Woolf's" (New York magazine). Preserving Woolf’s vital ideas and lyrical tone, Ruhl brings to the stage the life of an Elizabethan nobleman who’s magically transformed into an immortal woman.


Block A = December 1 and 3 @ 8 pm
Block B = December 2 @ 8 pm and December 3 @ 2 pm

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10-minute plays performed in two blocks. Directed and designed by JMU School of Theatre students.



College of Visual and Performing Arts
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre