VILLANOVA, PA – Villanova Theatre proudly presents a staged reading of The Behavior of Light, written and directed by Broadway playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, Douglas Carter Beane. Perhaps best known for his screenplay To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar as well as his award-winning work on musicals Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Sister Act, Xanadu and Lysistrata Jones, Beane is playwright-in-residence at Villanova University this spring. The acclaimed writer has been working alongside undergraduate and graduate students on a new play development process culminating in a public reading April 27-29, 2018. The Behavior of Light is sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences far and wide.
When local factories in 1970s West Reading, PA require employees to earn their GEDs, staff begin taking Continuing Education classes at the local middle school. Teddy, the school’s janitor, finds himself inspired by Caroline, a free-spirited art teacher. He begins to leave behind tokens of his affection, crafted with creativity and care. When shameless principal Robert steals Teddy’s work and sets his sights on Caroline, Teddy fights back and brings his jubilant, whimsical world to life. The Behavior of Light touches the heart as an outsider uses art as a vehicle for profound connection, and turns his quiet corner of the room into a bold, brilliant “corner of the sky.”
The Behavior of Light will be the last public performance of Villanova’s 17-18 season. With a dedication to the creation of new works, Villanova’s newly-incorporated 5th Show allows graduate and undergraduate students to work with acclaimed writers and directors and experience the development of a play. Ellen “Dash” Walter, a second-year graduate student, recruited Beane and will work alongside him as his dramaturg during the development process. According to Walter, “When I wrote to Doug and asked him if he had anything in the pipeline he would consider developing at Villanova as part of my thesis, you can only imagine my shock and thrill when he said ‘yes!’”
As childhood friends, this is not the first time Beane and Walter have collaborated. Walter remembers, “We wrote a play together in sixth grade and did all the high school plays.” The two went on to work together performing in numerous musicals during the 1970s at Genesius Theatre in Reading, a period about which Beane penned his 2015 Off-Broadway play Shows for Days. Beane and Walter wrote several musicals together during the 1980s in New York as members of the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, performing songs and scenes from their projects for panels of mentor-luminaries including Stephen Sondheim, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Schwartz, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Hal Prince, and Charles Strouse.
This summer, Beane will go on to direct his musical Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure and his play The Closet, based on a work by Francis Verber and starring Matthew Broderick, which will premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is currently writing another new work, Me and the Girls, based on a short story by Noël Coward along with a play in verse titled Fairycakes. He is currently developing a musical version of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar in collaboration with his husband, collaborator, and composer Lewis Flinn. (For full biographical information on Beane, please see below.)
The cast includes acting scholars Brishen Miller (Teddy) and Kara Krichman (Actor); graduate assistants Sisi Wright (Rowena), CJ Miller (Actor), and Mary Lyon (Actor); graduate students Nikitas Menotiades (Robert), Tara Demmy (Caroline), Shawneen Rowe (Helen), Josh McIlvain (Actor), Ian Notte (Actor), and Megan Schumacher (Actor); and undergraduate students Brian King (Actor) and Nicole Meredith (Actor).
The Behavior of Light runs at Villanova Theatre from April 27-29, 2018. Villanova Theatre is located on the Villanova University campus in Vasey Hall (at Lancaster & Ithan Avenues). Performances will be held Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are free, and can be reserved through the Villanova Theatre Box Office (M-S, 12 -5 p.m.) in person, by phone: (610) 519-7474, or online at www.villanovatheatre.org.
About Villanova Theatre: Villanova Theatre is a community of artist-scholars committed to transforming hearts and minds through the visionary production of classical, modern, and contemporary dramatic literature. Our work is fueled by the imaginative striving common to Villanova’s accomplished faculty, versatile staff, and energetic graduate students. Together, we are devoted to creating a vibrant theatre enriched by and overflowing with the ideas explored in our classrooms. In all of our endeavors, we aim to share the dynamic experience of collaborative learning with our audiences in order to engage the intellect and stir the soul. As a facet of Villanova University, Villanova Theatre serves the campus community as well as thousands of theatre-goers from the Main Line and the Greater Philadelphia area.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.