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John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts


Marguerite d'Aprile-Smith    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ)  The Lewis Center for the Arts will present John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves, a senior thesis production directed by Tracy Bersley featuring Brad Baron ’11 and Olivia Stoker ’11. Performances will be held on March 25-26 and 31, and April 1-2 at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center.

Guare is best known for his style of mixing comedy with an acute sense of the failure of human relationships and aspirations. The House of Blue Leaves takes a dark but farcical look at the question: How far will you go to ensure your fame? Kill the pope? Fly to Australia with a stranger? Sing a tune for a deaf starlet?

With dreams of grandeur looming large, Artie, an aging songwriter and zoo keeper, and Bunny, his mistress, are trapped in a hopeless quest for stardom and recognition. But stuck in his Sunnyside, Queens apartment with his wife who is headed for the nut house, he learns he has more in common with the animals in captivity than he ever wanted to admit. If you can't escape the other animals, freedom is hard to come by.

As a director/choreographer, Tracy Bersley has worked at such institutions as Lincoln Center, The Public, Second Stage, Primary Stages, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown and many burgeoning Off-Broadway companies, including The Civilians, Red Bull Theatre and The Keen Company, to name a few.  As a professor, she has taught, directed and/or choreographed at Princeton University as well as New York University, Purchase College, Yale and The Juilliard School. Bersley received her MFA in Directing from Syracuse and is a Drama League Fellow.

Brad Baron is a senior pursuing an English major with certificates in Theater and Vocal Performance. He is highly involved in the Princeton Triangle Club and Princeton Glee Club, is a member of the Princeton Tower Club, and has also performed with Theatre Intime and Princeton Shakespeare Company. Baron has performed in many productions sponsored by the Lewis Center’s Program in Theater and the Department of Music. In addition to performing Artie in The House of Blue Leaves, Baron is also developing his own version of The Theban Cycle by Sophocles for his English thesis and will be performing a senior recital program for his Vocal Performance certificate in April.

Olivia Stoker is a senior pursing an Italian major with certificates in Theater and Jazz Vocal Performance.  Most recently, she wrote and performed her Italian thesis show, A Broad Abroad, a multi-lingual (commedia dell'arte inspired) one-woman play with jazz songs directed by R.N. Sandberg.  Over the past four years, Stoker has acted in the Program in Theater productions with the Lewis Center for the Arts, as well as the Student Playwrights Festival (2010) with Theatre Intime, and Princeton Summer Theater.  She has also enjoyed singing on campus with the Jazz Vocal Collective and PURE. 

Tickets for The House of Blue Leaves are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for general admission. For advance tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220 or the Berlind Box Office at 609.258.2787.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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