March 26, 2012 /FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE /
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UNCSA TO PRESENT WORLD PREMIERE OF BABBITT ADAPTED BY DAVID RAMBO
WINSTON SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) will present the world premiere of David Rambo’s Babbitt, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ 1922 novel satirizing American materialism and consumerism, April 4-7 and 11-14.
Babbitt is directed by John Dillon – who is known for staging new works around the world by playwrights such as David Mamet, Romulus Linney, Larry Shue, and David Rambo – and features members of Studio III, the junior class in the School of Drama. Students in the School of Design and Production will provide support for the production.
Babbitt tells the story of George F. Babbitt, a prosperous partner at a real estate firm in the fictitious city of Zenith, as he struggles to find deeper meaning in his affluent life. We follow the life of Babbitt in his day-to-day dealings with his company, society friends, and rise to prominence in the political scene as an orator drumming up voters for politicians. It is after a tragic event occurs that Babbitt undergoes a mid-life crisis and must reconsider his priorities and work through what is most important to him in his life.
Photo by G. Allen Aycock
Babbitt (Devon Diffenderfer) rises to prominence as an orator drumming up votes for politicians.
David Rambo’s lively stage adaptation will vividly reflect the colorful and raucous “Roaring Twenties” – but will also send a serious message by conveying the importance of substance over style. “The themes are amazingly contemporary,” said UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri, founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a close personal friend of Rambo.
Rambo has adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, includingAll About Eve, Casablanca, Adam’s Rib, and Sunset Boulevard. The latter of these was produced with Chancellor Mauceri when Mauceri was directing the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Maestro Mauceri conducted Franz Waxman’s Oscar-winning original score as Rambo’s adaptation was performed live by an all-star cast at the Bowl.
Rambo has been in close contact with the School of the Arts and has attended rehearsals on campus to meet with the cast and the designers. Rambo’s involvement in the production process has allowed for revisions to the script up through and including its debut weekend, giving the students of UNCSA a uniquely collaborative experience.
In addition to authoring numerous plays and adaptations, David Rambo wrote and/or produced “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – the most-watched TV program in the world – for seven seasons. Rambo also has a new series, “NYC 22,” premiering on CBS on April 15.
John Dillon returns to UNCSA to direct the premiere of Babbitt, having previously staged Harper’s Ferry, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and various other works for the school. He is the associate director of Tokyo’s award-winning Institute of Dramatic Arts and the founding president of Theatre Puget Sound, a service organization for theatres and theatre workers in the Seattle area. Dillon served as artistic director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater for 16 years and during his time there launched a number of innovative exchanges with theatre companies in Mexico, Russia, Ireland, Chile, Japan and England.
Performances will be held at 8 p.m. April 4 to 7 and 11 to 14 and at 2 p.m. April 14 at UNCSA’s Catawba Theatre, part of the Performance Place building located on the campus at 1533 S. Main St. in Winston-Salem. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors, and may be purchased by visiting the UNCSA Box Office at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., or by calling 336-721-1945. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.uncsa.edu/performances.
As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.