IUP to Host Kennedy Center Theater Festival for Second Time

Posted on 12/19/2011 11:57:25 AM

Up to 1,000 faculty members and students are expected at IUP for the Region II Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival on January 11–14, 2012.

John Cariani

In addition to plays, workshops, and seminars, the festival will feature actor and playwright John Cariani as the keynote speaker.

His presentation will be January 11 at noon in the IUP Performing Arts Center’s Fisher Auditorium. It is free and open to the community.

Cariani’s roles in movies have included Chuck in Kissing Jessica Stein, Ed the cop in Scotland, Pa., Big Boy in High Street Plumbing, and Joel Bixby in Elephant Sighs. He has also been in the films Showtime, Robot Stories, and Messengers.

Elephant Sighs was written and directed by former IUP theater professor Ed Simpson and co-stars Ed Asner.

Cariani was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical) and won an Outer Critics Circle Award (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical) for his role as Motel the tailor in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

He has also acted in television shows including Numb3rs, Law & Order, Six Degrees, Pros and Cons, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Ed.

In addition to his Broadway work, Cariani has appeared in off-Broadway productions including Two Gentlemen of Verona, Modern Orthodox, and It’s My Party (And I’ll Die If I Want To).

As part of his presentation, several IUP students, under the direction of theater professor Barb Blackledge, will perform scenes from Cariani’s new, unpublished play “Love/Sick.”

This is the second time that IUP has hosted the regional festival, which includes 80 participating universities across an eight-state region and the District of Columbia. Brian Jones, chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, is coordinating the festival at IUP.

The festival honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, criticism, directing, and design.

Performances of four festival productions will be open to the community January 11–14 in Fisher Auditorium:

  • Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, produced by Towson University: January 11, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, by William Inge, produced by West Chester University: January 12, 8:30 p.m.
  • A Dream Play, by August Strindberg, produced by Bridgewater College: January 13, 8:30 p.m.
  • The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance, produced by Fairmont State University: January 14, 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for each performance are $10 and will be available in the Performing Arts Center grand lobby ticket office starting two hours before the performance. For more information about tickets, contact the Lively Arts at IUP via e-mail at lively-arts@iup.edu or by calling 724-357-2547.

Some productions contain language and situations that may be objectionable to some audience members. Productions, information, and times are all subject to change; changes will be posted on the IUP website.

In addition to the Fisher Auditorium performances, four plays, including IUP’s Lindsey’s Oyster, will be performed for festival registrants, with any remaining seats open to the community. More information about the schedule of these productions will be announced in January and will be on the IUP website.