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UW Opens New Theater with Comedy

September 30, 2015
three people on a theater set with furniture
Actors rehearse a scene from the UW production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” that can be seen Oct. 6-11 in the new Thrust Theatre. From left are Hannah Jones, Stacey Ann Tilton and Alex Forbes. (UW Photo)

The 2015-16 University of Wyoming Theatre and Dance fall season opens with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” Oct. 6-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is the debut production to occur in the new Thrust Theatre of the renovated and expanded Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. Thrust-style theaters extend into the audience on three sides, providing greater intimacy between performers and the audience.

Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. Tickets are available at or by calling (307) 766-6666. Tickets also are available at the Wyoming Union information desk and Performing Arts box office.

Christopher Durang’s comedy about three aging siblings pays loving homage to Chekhov's classic themes of loss and longing with modern, cringe-worthy flair. Siblings Vanya and Sonya are contentedly discontent to pass their twilight years drinking coffee and watching blue herons in the Pennsylvania farmhouse in which they grew up. That is, until their clairvoyant housekeeper issues a warning about terrible events in their immediate future. 

Soon after, their quiet life is hilariously upended when their glamorous, but fading movie star sister Masha pays a surprise visit with her much younger boy-toy Spike -- and a most unwelcome revelation -- in tow. And so begins an unforgettable family reunion filled with rivalry, regret and racket.

“It’s been a joy to work with the students in this new space, working with the intimate feel of the theater and ‘breaking in’ one of their new homes in the department,” says director Leigh Selting. 

The Thrust Theatre seats approximately 250 patrons. The new Performing Arts Center now includes a concession stand, a complimentary coat check, a brand new box office, additional restrooms on two levels, comfortable lobby seating and electronic message boards.

“All of the new amenities in our facility serve to make the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts one of the finest places anywhere to experience live theater, music and dance,” Selting says.

The Thursday, Oct. 8, performance is part of the formal reopening of the Performing Arts Center. Free tours, beginning at 5 p.m., will explain the details of the building's expansion and highlight new state-of-the-art rehearsal rooms, classrooms and music studios, with demonstration rehearsals led by UW music student ensembles.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled at 6 p.m. and, following the UW Symphony Orchestra 7:30 p.m. performance of “Porgy and Bess,” audience members can meet the evening’s artists at a reception in the new instrumental rehearsal hall. Tickets for the symphony cost $10 for the public; $7 for senior citizens, UW faculty and staff; and $6 for UW students.

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