For the second play in its season themed “In Defense of Guilt,” Dreamwell Theatre brings the premiere of an original, unpublished play by local playwright Mike Moran. Directed by Matt Falduto, the play focuses on a 14-year-old boy who tries to find identity and human connection through the Internet — and the reaction of his parents as he explores his sexual fantasies. As the first Internet-dependent generation comes of age, Dreamwell is the first theatre group this season to explore the uneasy relationship between teens and technology (Look for Working Group Theatre’s original play on cyber-bullying later this season).
The play runs Oct. 11-19 at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Iowa City. For more information, visit dreamwell.com.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Theatre Cedar Rapids
The life and character of Jesus has always been rich material for artists. In the 1970s this took the form of rock musicals. After a summer of acting in the Urban Theater Project production of August: Osage County, Leslie Charipar returns to the director’s chair to bring audiences Jesus Christ Superstar. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the musical uses song to explore the psychology of Jesus and his followers during his last days. Some showstoppers include Judas singing the title song and Mary Magdalene lamenting, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” After seeing the live musical, track down a video of AD/BC: A Rock Opera, a television parody of Superstar, in which Matt Berry (The IT Crowd) tells the story of the Nativity from the innkeeper’s point of view.
The musical runs Oct. 11-Nov. 2 at Theatre Cedar Rapids. For more information, visit theatrecr.org.
Romeo and Juliet
Iowa City Community Theatre
For the first time since 1997, ICCT will be bringing the Bard’s words to life (unless you count productions of Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead and I Hate Hamlet). Gavin Conkling directs the original classic about two star-crossed lovers torn between warring families. It’s been adapted into everything from musicals (West Side Story), zombie movies (Warm Bodies) and even a Twitter-based production by the Royal Shakespeare Company (Such Tweet Sorrow). See the play that started it all and reflect on why it has captured the imagination of centuries of artists, angsty teens and everyone who wondered, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
The play runs Oct. 18-20 and 25-27 at the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds, Exhibition Hall A. For more information, visit iowacitycommunitytheatre.com.
In a world where all parenting choices take on political significance, the battle begins with mothers having to justify their choice of either a hospital or home birth, OB/GYN or midwife. The root of this dichotomy is the subject of local playwright Jennifer Fawcett’s original comedy, Birth Witches, which explores a time when male doctors began to push female midwives out of the delivery room in 17th century London. With witch-hunts dominating the public psyche, science and superstition collide with gender roles, religion and politics in a conflict that lingers today. This world premiere is a co-production with Cornell College.
The play runs from Oct. 18-Nov. 3 at Riverside Theatre. There will be a Thursday Theatre Talk with Miriam Gilbert on Oct. 3 and talkbacks after the Oct. 20 and 25 shows. For more information, visit riversidetheatre.org.
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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Old Creamery Theatre Company
If you are in the mood for spooky Halloween fun, but need something more kid-friendly than the new fantasy-adventure-drama TV show on FOX, the Old Creamery Theatre Company in Amana has something for you. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is based on Washington Irving’s 1820 short story of the same name. Irving combined the headless horsemen of German folk tales and old Dutch culture in New York to create one of the earliest works of distinctly American Literature. This play is rated G, making it a great choice for the whole family.
The play runs Oct. 19-Nov. 2 at the Old Creamery Theatre Company. For more information, visit oldcreamery.com.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
City Circle Acting Company
Camelot—it’s no longer only a model. Krista Neumann directs this musical adaptation of the comedy classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. An irreverent retelling of the King Arthur legends, the original 2005 Broadway production won three Tony awards, including Best Musical, and ran for over 1,500 performances. If you couldn’t manage to see it in New York, now is your chance to watch your favorite scenes set to song and dance, including “I Am Not Dead Yet” and “Run Away!” The musical also includes a rendition of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” a song originally written by Eric Idle for the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Since that film’s 1979 release, it has become the third most popular song to play at funerals in Great Britain).
The musical runs Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3 at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts. For more information, visit citycircle.org.
Jorie Slodki earned her MA in theatre research from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has past experience in acting, directing and playwriting.