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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh announces 2020-2021 season

Coronavirus

Starting with a postponed production

Fredric March Theatre at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, October 2018. (Warren Gerds)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV)

In another sign of planning for life on the other side of the coronavirus COVID-19, University of Oshkosh-Theatre announced its 2020-2021 season.

Performances are in the university’s 498-seat Fredric March Theatre, named for a Wisconsin-born star of stage and screen (“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “The Best Years of Our Lives” and much more).

The lineup:

+ “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” Oct. 1-4.

The Christopher Durang comedy/drama was originally scheduled for April 30-May 3 as the finale for the 2019-2020 season. The production was put off because of the COVID-19 situation.

Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike. Old resentments flare, eventually leading to threats to sell the house. Also on the scene are sassy maid, Cassandra, who can predict the future, and a lovely young aspiring actress named Nina, whose prettiness somewhat worries the imperious Masha.

 + “Little Shop of Horrors,” Nov. 19-22.

The creative duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman load songs with satire that tease vintage sci-fi horror flicks. A botanical nut, Seymour Krelborn, had found the unique plant when it mysteriously appeared after a solar eclipse. Now, in Mushnik’s flower shop on New York’s Skid Row, it is growing as Seymour feeds it blood – his. Seymour has named the plant Audrey II for the love of his life, his co-worker in the flower shop. As it grows, Audrey II becomes more demanding. Then it talks… and sings!

+ The Glass Menagerie,” Feb. 18-21.

Tennessee Williams’ play opened doors for him in 1944 as he looked back to the 1920s and the Wingfield family. The mother, Amanda, floats above as a lofty better-than-others presence. The son, Tom, is stuck in low gear in a crummy, must-do job as his mother grinds at his aspirations to write and to find a way to find himself far from the family’s stultifying apartment in St. Louis. The daughter, Laura, has “a slight disadvantage,” her mother says, with a lameness and “lives in a world of little glass animals,” Tom says. Laura is akin to a dropped carton of eggs. The father is long gone. The Gentleman Caller stops in for dinner and gives all the Wingfields hope and, for Laura, momentary radiance.

+ “An Enemy of the People,” April 29-May 2, 2021.

UW-Oshkosh Theatre is reaching way back to explore Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play. It’s the story of a man who dares to speak an unpalatable truth and is punished for it. Did Dr. Stockman go too far in telling about the bacteria in the spa baths? For endangering the town’s economy, is he an enemy of the people?

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