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Gary Griffin to Direct Next AMTP Production

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November 1, 2005 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) has announced that award-winning director Gary Griffin will direct AMTP’s second theatrical project, “The Boys Are Coming Home.”

Griffin is currently rehearsing “The Color Purple” for Broadway, a production that recently received the support of Oprah Winfrey, and is one of the most highly anticipated productions of the new Broadway season.

“The Boys Are Coming Home,” a new musical suggested by Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” will have a workshop reading in early February and a full production at Northwestern in early August. Tickets for “The Boys Are Coming Home” go on sale in spring 2006.

“Boys” has a score by renowned Canadian composer and lyricist Leslie Arden, whose “House of Martin Guerre” was presented in an acclaimed 1996 production at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. The book is by playwright and performance artist Berni Stapleton, from an idea by Timothy French, who also will choreograph.

“Gary is one of America’s premiere directors and his keen eye for authenticity is a perfect fit for ‘The Boys Are Coming Home,’” said AMTP Artistic Director Stuart Oken. “It’s a tribute to the work Leslie and Berni have done that he has decided to make this his next musical project after ‘The Color Purple.’”

"Boys" re-imagines elements of Shakespeare's classic comedy in post-World War II America and explores the changing shape of gender and race relations that so significantly marked that period of our country’s history.

Griffin is no stranger to Shakespeare. He is an associate artistic director at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre where he will stage the company’s new production of Georges Feydeau’s French farce “A Flea In Her Ear” next spring, and has directed “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet.” He also has directed innovative, award-winning productions of Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George,” “A Little Night Music” and “Pacific Overtures,” which won the Laurence Olivier Award when it transferred from the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre to London’s Donmar Warehouse Theatre.

AMTP’s first production “WAS,” (Oct. 28 to Nov. 13) under the direction of Tina Landau, will have its official press opening Nov. 4 at the Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus.

The American Music Theatre Project is a new initiative created by Executive Director Dominic Missimi and Artistic Director Stuart Oken. The project has a threefold mission: to develop new musicals on Northwestern's campus, utilizing the talents of the students of the Schools of Communication and Music; to provide educational opportunities; and explore research possibilities in the field of music theatre.

To learn more about the American Music Theatre Project, go to the AMTP Web site at www.amtp.northwestern.edu.

For ticket information for AMTP’s premier production of "WAS,” call the Ethel M. Barber Theatre Box office at (847) 491-7282.

Topics: Campus Life