UIC theatre season remembers instrumental leader

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Theatre and Music is dedicating the 2019-2020 Mainstage Theater season to the memory of Professor Emeritus Anthony Graham-White, who served UIC for 32 years.

Graham-White, who died Jan. 8, joined UIC in the fall of 1976 as the head of the speech and theatre department in the College of Arts and Sciences. During the 10 years he was head, the department changed its name to Communication and Theatre.

He was instrumental in establishing a partnership with Chicago’s historic Free Street Theatre, which provided students with real-world experience and credit for classes while working on productions.

In addition to serving as head, he was the director of graduate studies between 1991 and 2001, and coordinator of undergraduate studies for five years. Through the years, Graham-White taught graduate courses as well as popular undergraduate courses, including “Introduction to Theatre,” and directed many notable productions for the stage. He retired in 2008.

Luck of the Irish play

The season begins with “The Luck of the Irish” by Kristen Greenidge and directed by Tyrone Phillips, who will direct at UIC Theatre for the first time.

The play is about an upwardly mobile African-American couple who want to buy a home in an all-white neighborhood in 1950s Boston and pay a struggling Irish family to “ghost-buy” a house on their behalf. The play explores racial and social issues and the universal longing for home.

The play opened on Oct. 4 and will close on Oct. 13. For more information and to buy tickets:http://bit.ly/LuckofTheIrishUIC

In the Next Room play

“In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” by Sarah Ruhl, is directed at UIC by Lydia Diamond, a UIC faculty member and Jeff-Award winning playwright.

The play is set in the past in a seemingly perfect Victorian home when a scientist invents a device for treating “hysteria” in women and men. The laugh-out-loud, provocative and touching play premiered at Berkely Repertory Theatre and subsequently marked Sara Ruhl’s Broadway debut in 2009.

The play opens Nov. 15 and runs until Nov. 24. For more information and to buy tickets: http://bit.ly/inthenextroomUIC

Barbecue play

“Barbecue,” by Robert O’Hara, will kick off the spring session when Jeff Award-winning director and the School of Theatre and Music faculty member Derrick Sanders directs.

The play focuses on the O’Mallerys, who have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and straight talk with their sister Barbara, whose spiral of drugs and recklessness has forced her siblings to stage an open-air intervention.

The play opens Feb. 21 and runs until March 1. For more information and to buy tickets: http://bit.ly/BarbecueUIC

El Nogalar play

The next play, “El Nogalar,” is inspired by Anton Chekov’s, “The Cherry Orchard,” but set in modern-day Northern Mexico by contemporary playwright Tanya Saracho. In Saracho’s play, the Galvan family, led by Matriarch Maite, return from the United States to their pecan orchard to reclaim their land in Mexico.

Saracho creates a world where class pressure and social turmoil threatens traditional families’ land and lifestyle in contemporary Mexico. The play will be directed by Marcela Muñoz, co-artistic director of Chicago’s Aguijón Theater who directed last season’s production of “Electricidad.”

“El Nogalar,” which runs April 17 through April 26, will close out the season. For more information and to buy tickets:  http://bit.ly/elnogalarUIC