Theater Alums to Direct Two Brind School Productions This Fall

Jackson Gay BFA ’99 (Acting) directs 'Top Girls,' Megan Nicole O’Brien BFA ’05 (Applied Theater Arts) leads production of 'High Fidelity'

Scene from "Top Girls"

October 5, 2011

Two emerging female directors who are University of the Arts alumnae will lead a new generation of undergrads in October productions produced by the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts.

Award-winning director Jackson Gay BFA ’99 (Acting) will direct Caryl Churchill’s “Top Girls” (October 6 – 9). Megan Nicole O’Brien BFA ’05 (Applied Theater Arts), a Barrymore-nominated director and co-founder/resident director of Philadelphia’s 11th Hour Theatre Company, will direct the Philadelphia premiere of the musical “High Fidelity” (October 14 – 16 & 20 – 22).

Gay received her MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama and currently directs off-Broadway and throughout the U.S. at prestigious venues like People’s Light & Theatre, Red Bull Theater in New York and Alley Theatre in Houston, and at new play festivals such as Sundance, Ojai and PlayPenn.

Churchill’s “Top Girls” begins as a fantasy encounter with iconic historical figures, as Marlene, a modern-day executive, hosts a dinner party to celebrate a recent job promotion and invites five women from the past as her guests. As the play unfolds, Churchill examines the kinds of challenges that ambitious women must face in their pursuit of success and the price that Marlene has paid to become a “Top Girl.” Since its premiere at the Royal Court Theater in 1982, Churchill’s play has been hailed as a “bold and provocative” (Variety) milestone in contemporary playwriting.

Later in the month, Brind School students will offer two weekends of performances of “High Fidelity.” A Philadelphia-based director, O’Brien is most recently credited with the revival of 11th Hour Theatre Company’s hip-hop take on Shakespeare, “The Bomb-itty of Errors.” She is a 2011 Barrymore Award nominee for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for 11th Hour’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.”

“High Fidelity” is a musical adaptation of the 1995 Nick Hornby novel (as well as the 2000 Touchstone Pictures film starring John Cusack). A high-voltage score becomes Rob Gordon’s soundtrack as he revisits past relationships in an attempt to better understand love and life.

The casts of the two productions comprise students in the Brind School’s BFA conservatory programs in Acting and Musical Theater. Stage management and scenic, costume and lighting design are also provided by Brind School students in the BFA Theater Design & Technology and Directing, Playwriting & Production programs. 

Tickets for “Top Girls” and “High Fidelity” are available online at tickets.uarts.edu. Further information is available by phone at 215-717-6499.

Top Girls High Fidelity
Caplan Studio Theater Arts Bank Theater
211 South Broad Street, 16th Floor 601 South Broad Street
Thu, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. Fri, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.
Fri, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. Sat, Oct 15 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sat, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. Sun, Oct 16 at 2 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. Thu, Oct 20 at 8 p.m.
  Fri, Oct 21 at 8 p.m.
  Sat, Oct 22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
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