Hijinks abound in UNT's production of classic comic play "The Philadelphia Story," Nov. 5-8

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 14:18

What: The Philadelphia Story,the comic play by Philip Barry presented by the Department of Dance and Theatre at the University of North Texas. The play is guest directed by David Denson, artistic director of Upstart Theater of Dallas. A true comedy of manners contemporizing the nature of divorce in an exceedingly witty fashion, the play shines a light on the social hierarchy of the era as we experience the delightful hijinks of Tracy Lord our young heroine.

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 6, 7 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and 2 p.m. Nov. 7, 8 (Saturday, Sunday)

Where: University Theatre, Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building

Tickets: Tickets cost $7.50 for students, UNT faculty/staff and senior citizens and $10 for adults. Audience members can purchase tickets at the box office, which is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and one hour before each performance at the Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building. For more information, call 940-565-2428, email dat-boxoffice@unt.edu or visit the Department of Dance and Theatre online.

Parking: Parking is free directly behind the RTFP Building Friday through Sunday. For more information about parking on the UNT campus please visit: UNT Parking and Transportation online.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Take one spoiled rich woman, three handsome men and a big wedding and you've got "The Philadelphia Story," the latest play from the University of North Texas' Department of Dance and Theatre.

The play, written by Phillip Barry and adapted into a 1940 movie starring Katharine Hepburn, will run at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 6, 7 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and 2 p.m. Nov. 7, 8 (Saturday, Sunday) at the University Theatre in the Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building.

Sophomore theatre major Ashley Haas has the lead role as Tracy Lord.

"It's your classic screwball romantic comedy," Haas said. "You got your confused heroine of the highest of the upper class. The only problems she had to deal with is who she's going to marry."

Tracy already has been married to childhood friend C.K. Dexter Haven (freshman theatre major Alex Istrate), but she couldn't take some of his flaws. Now comes her second engagement to George Kittredge (senior theatre major Andrew Derasaugh), a former coal miner who's has risen up in society – and sees Tracy as his status symbol.

Reporters are covering every moment of the wedding and Tracy has a fling with journalist Macaulay Connor (senior theatre major Seth Jones). Now she must decide what she's really looking for – high society or true love.

"It's a really fun play," Haas said. "There's a lot of layers that goes to it. Every little character has deeper back story."

And that includes Tracy, who will go through a big change from the beginning of the play.

"She's got a skewed vision of reality," Haas said. "She's a fun one to play because she's so out of touch with reality. It's like when you're watching the 'E! Hollywood True Story' and they complain the Rolls Royce is beige instead of white."

While the play features lots of physical comedy, it also touches on social issues that are relevant in the 1930s as they are today, director David Denson said.

"The play pokes fun at the rich and supports the idea that we should take a step back and not judge books by their cover," he said. "The central idea is that you really can check your preconceived notions at the door. That is a lesson we constantly have to be reminded of."

Denson serves as artistic director of Upstart Theater of Dallas, and has been a prominent director in the Dallas theater world. He said UNT will have put its own stamp to the classic.

"I think that no matter what play you're doing, the production always develops the life of its own based on the individuals come to create it," Denson said. "It will have a unique voice."

UNT News Service
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