Tag Archives: NKU School of the Arts

NKU Opera Brings Laughs with Menotti’s OLD MAID AND THE THIEF

NKUO_Old Maid and the Thief logoHIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts Opera will be staging Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act comedic operaThe Old Maid and the Thief on April 12 & 14 in Greaves Concert Hall at NKU.

When a beggar appears at their door, Miss Todd and her maid Laetitia swoon and allow him in. But little do they know, a dangerous thief has escaped from the county jail that very night. While keeping the town gossip Miss Pinkerton at bay, the ladies decide the fate of their new friend. Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief is a fast-paced and melodramatic comedic opera which tells a twisted tale of morals that will satisfy audiences of all ages.

The Old Maid and the Thief is a one-act opera written specifically to be aired on the radio,” said director Kimberly Lazzeri. “Because the opera was originally meant to be heard and not seen, all of the action is vividly portrayed in the music! The music is melodic and totally accessible. Audiences might even leave whistling one of the beautiful arias featured in the production.”

Sarah DeMoor, a senior vocal performance major, is portraying the cunning and conniving maid Laetitia on the April 12 performance. She considers the music as both a highlight and challenge. “It is beautifully written… I have found an appreciation for not only my character’s portion of the score but the entirety of the orchestration as a whole. It is a masterpiece.”

Senior vocal performance major Ashley Patak, who is portraying Laetitia on April 14, has enjoyed playing the character and learned a lot in the process. “If someone has never seen an opera, this would be a really great one to start with because it is in English, and it’s hilarious… watching the different dynamics between each character and seeing their tactics to get what they each want would be entertaining to anyone.”

Kaitlin Fierro is landing her first big role in opera as Miss Pinkerton. The junior vocal performance major considers this her most challenging role in balancing the reality of the character with the general hilarity. “There is a fine line between good and bad comedy. I have such fun making people laugh that sometimes I have to pull myself up and do a mental check.”

Fierro knows the opera is not especially deep or philosophical, but everyone is going to go home laughing. “It is one of the most accessible operas I have had the pleasure of encountering. Menotti presents a quirky, fun story which the audience will fall in love with. My hope is that everyone will remember that one scene where they could not stop laughing.”

The NKU cast features Maria Bales (Miss Todd), Tyler Smith (Bob), Sarah DeMoor (Laetitia – April 12), Ashley Patak (Laetitia – April 14), and Kaitlin Fierro (Miss Pinkerton). Performances take place Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. in Greaves Concert Hall at NKU. Tickets range $10-$17 and can be purchased at nku.edu/sotatickets or by calling 859-572-5464. Parking is available in Lots D & I on campus. For more information about NKU’s School of the Arts, please visit nku.edu/sota or follow on social media @NKUSOTA.

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New Music Ensemble Celebrates Imagery and Artistry at NKU SOTA

NKU_Zohn Collective

Zohn Collective.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts welcomes new music ensemble Zohn Collective on March 20, who will be performing an evening of modern piano trios in collaboration with videographer José Camacho and famed, Mexican cartoonist, José Ignacio Solórzano (a.k.a. “Jis”).

All works on the program relate to the idea of music as a powerful gateway to memory. Audience members may recognize the Ives Trio, which is flecked with numerous quotations of American folk and popular music. Ives evokes memories from his own personal life as well as memories from the collective American consciousness. Other works on the program were written by Daniel Pesca and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, both members of Zohn Collective, and also deal with the idea of music and memory.

“The performance will stimulate audiences to respond more creatively to contemporary and 20th-century chamber music while creating an experience to reflect on the relationship between music, imagery, and memory,” said Hanna Hurwitz, co-director of Zohn Collective and lecturer of violin at NKU SOTA. “The information about the works will be integrated as an artistic, rather than descriptive, component of the event. The intention is to refract that information through a combination of visual and auditory means that gives space for individualized reflection and fluid interpretation.”

Founded in 2017, Zohn Collective is a contemporary music collective, which seeks to produce and perform artist-driven projects generated by its members. For this reason, the diversity of backgrounds, interests, and expertise of each member is an essential and vibrant element of the group’s model. The ensemble core is comprised of nine members, which includes instrumental performers, composers, and a conductor, however, the group may expand or contract as dictated by the repertory of each project. The group recently performed with internationally recognized puppet company, La Coperacha, at the Festival de Mayo in Guadalajara, Mexico, and has given performances and workshops at the University of Kentucky, Belmont University, Oberlin Conservatory, Notre Dame, and University of Chicago.

“Jis” José Ignacio Solórzano is a renowned cartoonist, conceptual artist, and radio personality born in 1963 in Guadalajara, México. He has been a longstanding contributor to many of the preeminent newspapers and magazines in Mexico (La Jornada, Milenio, Galimatías, among others) and is co-author of the fabled comic strip “El Santos”. He has presented numerous exhibits of his work at noted galleries in Mexico and abroad and published several books with his drawings, comic strips, and cartoons, for including one in English, titled Cats don’t exist for Fantagraphics.

Zohn Collective will perform Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7 p.m. in Greaves Concert Hall at NKU. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is available for patrons in Lots D & I on campus. For more information about NKU’s School of the Arts, please visit nku.edu/sota or follow on social media @NKUSOTA.

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Northern Kentucky University
Part of the Y.E.S. Festival
April 3-14
Corbett Theatre [Highland Heights]

Written by Ethan Warren
Directed by Nicole Perrone

Cast: Landis Helwig as James Dean, Charles Adams as Dennis, Rachel Kazee as Natalie, Sarah Hack as Liz/Natalie’s Mother, Austin Adams as Rock/Corey, Alex Slade as Nick/Stevens, Katie Tierney as Mary, Brayden Glass as Bobby, Kylie Flick as Reporter/Assistant Director, Jerrod Gruber as Figment A, Raven Burns-Gibson as Figment B, Brooke Hardin as Figment C, Tyler Rosenblatt as Figment D & Nick Palazzolo as Figment E

New to Hollywood, a naive young actor named Dennis is cast in the new James Dean film, and though he’s at first unimpressed with his idiosyncratic co-star, he’s soon seduced by Dean’s mysterious talent. Dean agrees to mentor Dennis, but as they co-star in two films across the spring and summer of 1955, both find themselves struggling to understand what it means to be a great actor, and a good man, before they lose their chance to be either.

  • Wed, April 3 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, April 5 at 7:30pm
  • Sat-Sun, April 6-7 at 2pm
  • Wed, April 10 at 7:30pm
  • Fri-Sat, April 12-13 at 7:30pm
  • Sun, April 14 at 2pm

Official page |


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NKU SOTA Announces 2019-20 Theatre + Dance Season


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts Theatre + Dance Program is excited to announce its 2019-20 academic season. An exact schedule of performances will be released July 2019.                                                                                                                            

By Carlyle Brown
Sept. 26–Oct. 6, 2019
NKU Corbett Theatre

In 1820’s Manhattan, William Henry Brown, a free black American, organizes a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III for a predominantly black audience. When the booking of a famous English actor to play Richard III by a rival theatre company threatens to close their production, his African Grove Theatre Company is forced to reflect on their lives – performing jobs of servitude by day and their artistry by night. Drawn to the stage because of their ability to create art out of their own experiences, the company members must determine if their artistry is worth risking it all. Based on a true story, The African Company Presents Richard III carries a timeless message of negotiating racial consciousness in theatre that still resonates today.

By Anton Chekhov
Oct. 17-27, 2019
NKU Stauss Theatre

As the Prozorov sisters and their brother yearn for a return to adventure-filled life in Moscow, the pastoral setting of their new lives brings change and reflection on love, marriage, and career. In a prophetic hinting of the coming Bolshevik Revolution, the playwright weaves a memorable tale about the rise of the working class and social change in Russia. Considered one of Anton Chekhov’s greatest plays, Three Sisters is packed with action and emotion, and explores the aching desire of dreams and the often cold realities that come to pass.

Book by Bridget Carpenter
Music by Tom Kitt
Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Nov. 14-24, 2019
NKU Corbett Theatre

When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have just one day to put things right again. By spending a day in each other’s shoes, Katherine and Ellie come to appreciate one another’s struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter. Freaky Friday, a new musical based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films, is a heartfelt, comedic, and unexpectedly emotional update on an American classic.

By W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan
Feb. 21–March 1, 2020
NKU Corbett Theatre

The gentlemanly Captain Corcoran has a daughter, Josephine, who is in love with a lowly but gallant sailor named Ralph Rackstraw. Meanwhile, the Captain’s former nanny, Little Buttercup, falls in love with him, but he hesitates to reciprocate due to his higher social rank. The whole situation is turned on its head when Little Buttercup reveals a game-changing secret she has kept for decades. H.M.S. Pinafore is filled with robust sailors, star-crossed lovers, and crazy comical antics sure to tickle your funny bone and lift your heart.

by Sam Shepard
March 26–April 5, 2020
NKU Stauss Theatre

Deep in the American Heartland, life seems to have mysteriously come to a stop. Grappling with the disillusionment of American Mythology a family seeks to hide their past, only to become trapped by it. The surprise arrival of an estranged grandson and a mysterious finding in the field ignites the characters like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Alternately funny and darkly macabre,Buried Child weaves a twisted family drama of epic proportions.

Music and Lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson
Book by Catherine Johnson
April 24–May 3, 2020
NKU Corbett Theatre

On the eve of Sophie’s wedding, her quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. But which one is her real father? The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, creating an unforgettable show that is guaranteed to have you singing and dancing!


First Year Show
Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 2019
NKU Stauss Theatre

This production shows off our talented freshman and transfer students. Title will be announced in September 2019.

Dance ‘20
March 20-23, 2020
NKU Corbett Theatre

Featuring a company of our best young dance artists, along with new and innovative works created by faculty, guest artists, and nationally renowned choreographers, Dance ‘20 has something for everyone – theatre dance, contemporary and classical ballet, tap, modern, jazz, and world dance.

For more information, call the NKU School of the Arts Box Office at (859) 572-5464 or visit nku.edu/sotatickets. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 2019.

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James Dean, Role-Play Games Headline NKU’s Play Festival

NKU_Yes Festival 18 logoHIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts Theatre and Dance Program has selected three plays that will receive their world-premiere productions this April in the 19th Biennial Year-End Series (Y.E.S.) Festival. Fast Young Beautiful by Ethan Warren and Initiative by Jacob York were selected as the winning playwrights of over 300 script submissions. As an added bonus, The Black Boy in Pink written by NKU BFA Playwriting major, Isaiah Reaves, will receive a lightly-staged production in the studio theatre. Performances will take place April 4-14, 2019 at the NKU Fine Arts Center.


Ethan Warren.

By Ethan Warren
Directed by Nicole Perrone
Corbett Theatre

New to Hollywood, a naive young actor named Dennis is cast in the new James Dean film, and though he’s at first unimpressed with his idiosyncratic co-star, he’s soon seduced by Dean’s mysterious talent. Dean agrees to mentor Dennis, but as they co-star in two films across the spring and summer of 1955, both find themselves struggling to understand what it means to be a great actor, and a good man, before they lose their chance to be either.

Ethan Warren’s first play, Why Are You Nowhere?, received the Playwright’s Award for Staged Reading at the 2016 Midtown International Theatre Festival, as well as the Inkslinger Award from Southeastern Louisiana University, where it had its premiere production in Feb. 2017. His play Hot Dog Christmas was commissioned as part of The Boston Project, the new works initiative at SpeakEasy Stage Company, and his short works have been published in the Stage It! 10-Minute play anthology, and the journal Furious Gazelle. He is also the writer/director of the independent feature film West of Her (2018), and an editor for the film journal Bright Wall/Dark Room.


Jacob York.

By Jacob York
Directed by Mike King
Stauss Theatre

Playing a pen and paper role-playing game may not be your idea of a good time but, for Dave and his friends, it’s a lifeline. Dave has a particularly aggressive form of cancer and the only way he’ll experience all the memories he counted on having is through his friends creating them around him at the gaming table. A play about friends and the lengths you’ll go for them, Initiative examines stories and why we tell them. And what unexpected demons can lie within.

Jacob York’s writing credits include Homers (World Premiere – Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Roswell, GA), Initiative (Semi-finalist, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Festival), Adultery for Beginners (Semi-finalist, Humanitas New Voices Program), lead writer for Middle School The Musical and The Real Tweenagers of Atlanta (World Premiere – Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA), and head writer for The Know Better Effect. In addition to writing, Jacob is known as an actor on stage (Shakespeare in Love at Nashville Repertory Theatre; Women in Jeopardy! at Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Macbeth at Atlanta Shakespeare Company), on screen (Turn: Washington’s Spies on AMC; Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell on Adult Swim), and as an audiobook narrator (To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo; Certain, Dark Things by M.J. Pack).


Isaiah Reaves.

By Isaiah Reaves
Directed by Brian Robertson
The Henry Konstantinow Studio Theatre 

The Black Boy in Pink is a bold new work by a young provocative playwright set in his hometown of Cincinnati. The year is 1959. Wyatt Frost is a young black man who has been forced to make hard choices to survive. Flickering across his fuzzy RCA Victor television set comes the possibility of a different existence. As his life becomes entangled with the legacy of a picturesque local wealthy family, will Wyatt be able to choose the life he has always wanted? Will he be able to color pink his otherwise black and white existence?

Isaiah Reaves is a dramatist and actor based in Cincinnati, OH. Reaves began writing at the age of eleven. At fifteen years old, his play Wyatt’s Bed received a reading at the Tony Award-winning Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Since then, his full-length plays have been staged at The Cincinnati Fringe Festival, where his production of The Blackface Project was named a CityBeat Critic’s Pick in 2018. His work has also been produced as part of the Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s Serials and Underground series, as well as in the One Minute Play Festival, Northern Kentucky University, and the Clifton Performance Theatre. Reaves has received training from the College-Conservatory of Music’s Summer Playwriting Workshop and is currently a junior BFA candidate at Northern Kentucky University, where he is the Ken Jones Playwriting Scholarship recipient.

Tickets will go on sale January 28, 2019 at noon. Single tickets are $15 general admission or 2-show package for $25. Student tickets are $10 or 2-show package for $15. The Black Boy in Pink will have free admission, but reservations are required due to limited seating. Please visit the YES Festival website at nku.edu/yesfestival for more information.

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