Previewing the 2015-2016 campus theater season

Sept. 20, 2015, 12:04 a.m.

This is going to be a big year for Stanford Theater. With 12 Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) shows and student-group productions like Ram’s Head’s “Rent,” Asian American Theater Project’s “Into the Woods” and Stanford Shakespeare Company’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” there will be no shortage of great theater on campus this year.

TAPS’ season includes three mainstage productions: “Fox Mirror Forest,” an original site-specific dance performance at Lake Lag, “Oh What a Lovely War!” a musical about World War One to be performed in the Pigott Theater, and a Spring Dance Show to be performed in Memorial Auditorium. TAPS will likely pull out all the stops again with its mainstage shows, as it did last year with “Hamlet” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”

TAPS’ season also includes the undergraduate Capstone projects “Purity Ball,” “Glengarry Glenn Ross” and “Top Girls” (performed in rotating repertory), the original play “Chances” and Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” It includes three PHD projects, “House on Mango Street,” “Je N’ai Pas Les Temps” and a devised solo work. Also, it will be producing the original play “Mathematics of Love” by Stanford’s own playwriting professor Cherrie Moraga, who wrote last year’s innovative Casa Zapata play “Watsonville.”

As the largest student theater group on campus, Ram’s Head will likely dazzle again with its yearly productions of “Gaieties” in the fall and the Original Winter One-Acts in the winter (which is currently accepting applications for directors as well as play submissions). Ram’s Head’s spring musical “Rent,” directed by Elizabeth Knarr, will also be a must-see — last year’s spring musical “Hairspray,” directed by the talented Ken Tang, was stunning, selling out Memorial Auditorium for several nights.

The Asian American Theater Project (AATP) is starting the year with the 24 Hour Play Project, a contest where teams write, produce and direct a short play in only 24 hours that is bound to bring hackathon-style excitement into theater. Its spring musical, “Into the Woods” (holding auditions this week), will put a twist on the well-known Sondheim musical, incorporating Asian-inspired design elements and weaving in themes of the Asian-American Experience. “Into the Woods” is a big musical, but AATP will likely be able to pull it off with a track record of excellent shows like last year’s “Stop Kiss.

Stanford Shakespeare Company (Stan Shakes) is producing the romantic tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra,” directed by Rayna Smith, in the winter, and “Tetralogy: Wars of the Roses,” a set of four plays (Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 and Richard III) abridged into one evening of theater. With consistently successful shows like “Much Ado About Nothing,” it will definitely be worth it to check out Stan Shakes’ ambitious season.

These are just a few of the highlights of Stanford’s packed 2015-2016 theater season. Whether you are an actor, director or audience member, there will be plenty of ways to satisfy your love for the theater this year.

Contact Steve Rathje at srathje ‘at’

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