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Theater September 29, 2011 //  by  // Comments

Award-winning play opens theatre season

The School of Theatre & Dance will open its 2011-2012 season with its ! rst production of “Hot L. Baltimore” on Friday night. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

The School of Theatre & Dance will open its 2011-2012 season with its ! rst production of “Hot L. Baltimore” on Friday night. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

The School of Theatre and Dance presents its season opener “Hot L Baltimore” on Friday.

The play is set to launch on stage in the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre and run through Oct. 9. Written by the late Lanford Wilson, the play centers around the impending demolition of the dilapidated Hotel Baltimore and its diverse crew of residents.

The glow of the hotel’s neon E is gone, proving its disrepair and providing a namesake for the play itself. The characters lose hope as their residency is set to be demolished. The piece stands as a representation of the trying times of the 1970s and has grim undertones, but stands as a comedy glowing with the entertaining dialogue of residents ranging from prostitutes to seniors.

The hotel’s residents from various backgrounds must cooperate and deal with the stark realization of their impending doom. Wilson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and former UH School of Theatre and Dance lecturer, began his tenure at UH in 2004, working on the New Playwrights Workshop and mentoring students before his leave in 2007.

“Hot L Baltimore” premiered in 1973 at Circle in the Square in New York City and continued to successfully run for over 1,600 showings. The production won the 1973 Obie Award for Best American Play as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award. The play was later adapted and ran as an ABC sitcom in 1975. Accomplished Guest Director Leslie Swackhamer has her hand in this production, putting it in her own light and is accompanied by Assistant Director Melissa Flower.

A nationally experienced director, Swackhamer has won awards from the Seattle Times, and directed a Houston Chronicle award-winning play, “Lady and Amy’s View” in 2007.

Active in opera production as well, she has had her work produced in theatres across the nation, including the Houston Grand Opera, and has worked nationally as a guest artist and guest faculty for numerous universities including the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California.

The long history of success of “Hot L Baltimore” and its showings prove the play’s likelihood to entertain and lends itself as a great opening play for the rest of the 2011-2012 season.

Tickets are priced at $20, $15 for faculty and staff members and $10 for students. They can be purchased at the box office in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Performing Arts. Showtimes are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 6, 7, 8, and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2 and 9.

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