Artists of tomorrow, on stage today
At Emerson Stage, students in the Department of Performing Arts apply skills learned in the classroom to real-life production challenges. Our student actors, designers, stage managers, technicians and educators work side-by-side with faculty, professional staff, and visiting artists to perfect their skills, build their resumes, and deepen their understanding of their craft and the role theater plays in enriching our culture and community.
As a first-year student, all Performing Arts majors participate backstage as a production crew member; students from their sophomore year onwards have the opportunity to deepen their experience through production projects targeted to a specific area of study. Our nine-show season offers more than 120 opportunities for actors, 100 positions for design staff, 70 in production and another 70 in theatre management, and 30 artistic roles – all reserved exclusively for Performing Arts students.
If you are a supporter and advocate for the arts, we invite you to join us as we showcase the artists of tomorrow, on stage today. Tickets start at $8 for members of the Emerson Community and $12 for members of our community at large, with discounts for multi-play passes and groups. Tickets for the 2016-2017 season are available here.
Caucasian Chalk Circle (September 29-October 2)
When a noblewoman abandons her son in the heat of a civil war, the child is taken by a servant girl, who sacrifices everything in order to respectfully raise the young boy as her own. When the biological mother returns, it must be decided who is the rightful mother of the boy. This fresh and powerful translation of Brecht’s incendiary masterpiece explores displacement, sacrifice, and classism, and will leave viewers inspired and impassioned.
James and the Giant Peach (October 20-23)
Human-sized insects, conniving aunts, magic spells, and a giant peach are just some of the wonders of this miraculous journey! Based on the story by Roald Dahl, the young and orphaned James embarks on a dangerous voyage in the center of a gigantic peach, and through it learns that our families are sometimes those we choose. Featuring a score by Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, James and the Giant Peach is a family-friendly musical delight.
The House of Bernarda Alba (November 10-13)
Following the death of her husband, aging matriarch Bernarda Alba imposes eight years of cloistered mourning on her five unmarried daughters. Behind the house’s barred windows and away from their mother’s prying eyes, the imprisoned women violently yearn for freedom, which they project onto a young and duplicitous suitor. Avoiding Bernarda’s iron grip, a storm of secret desires threatens to tear the house to the ground. Written mere months before his assassination by the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War, Lorca’s final masterpiece explores the dangers of intolerance and authoritarian rule, in a form simultaneously domestic and mythic.
Mrs. Warren's Profession (December 8-11)
Set in Victorian Britain, Mrs. Warren’s Profession tells the story of Kitty Warren, a former prostitute and current brothel owner, and her daughter Vivie, an intelligent and pragmatic young woman who was recently graduated from university. As the two women become acquainted with each other for the first time, their stark differences force their relationship apart. Extremely socially advanced for the time, Shaw addresses issues of gender roles and the complexity of being female in Victorian times, still resonant today.
Getting Out (February 2-5)
Arlene, recently released from prison, returns to a rundown apartment in Louisville, KY, intent on starting her life over. Rebellious and disruptive when she was younger, she has found strength in religion and wants to put her old life and self (“Arlie”) behind her. Ultimately, this play, like life, offers no simple answers – but it conveys, with heartrending honesty and compassion, the struggle of someone fighting for her life against incredible odds.
King Liz (February 16-19)
Destinies collide as the career path of a powerful black female sports agent in the predominantly white male sports agency industry entangles with an Afro-Latin NBA-bound teenage athletic phenomenon from the Brooklyn projects on the verge of basketball fame and glory. Fernanda Coppel paints a searing portrait of ambitions fighting through the odds, calculating sacrifices, and fateful decisions that examines the complex American minefields of race, socioeconomic status, dreams and personal values.
NewFest New Works Festival (March 16-April 2)
The NewFest New Works Festival is a three-week celebration of creativity, featuring a new full-length play by the winner of the Rod Parker Playwriting Award, a workshop production* of a new play by a professional playwright, and other short plays and readings written and performed by Emerson students.
*Production of the NewFest play is made possible by the generous support of Rod Parker, ’51.
- Living Will (March 16-19)
Renee Lafond, winner of the Rod Parker Playwriting Award, sees her full-length play taken from page to stage in this full production.
- NewFest Readings & Shorts (March 21, 23, 25)
Presentations of short plays, and readings of selected submissions to the Rod Parker Playwriting Award, all written, directed, and performed by students.
- Fresh (March 30-April 2)
Set in the underground world of virtual graffiti, Fresh is an epic techno-drama that follows college students involved in a gang rape that goes viral; exploring how the event and evolving technology fractures and reshapes their lives from 2016-2031. This workshop production allows our students the chance to work with a professional playwright during the formative stages of the play, and allows the playwright the opportunity to see the play grow, develop, and become polished.
Titanic (April 20-22)
Is bigger, faster, stronger better? Why did so few survive? Why were most of those who did survive “first-class” passengers? A soaring, lush score by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone pose these questions and more in this Best Musical Tony Award winning, phenomenal rendition of the historic story. A mirror of class-structure in the English-speaking world as well as in the meaning of progress, the star of Titanic is the ship itself – its people, its potential, and its failure amidst God-given optimism.
All performance photos on this site by Craig Bailey / Perspective Photo. Technical photography by Tony Rinaldo