UB Theatre and Dance Announces 2021 Spring Season

Playbill cover for "Topsy Turvey World" show.

Release Date: March 3, 2021


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance is presenting a unique spring season of virtual musicals, plays and dance. Nationally recognized directors and choreographers work with esteemed faculty and emerging student talent from UB to produce innovative original productions which both entertain and explore the human condition.

The department’s spring 2021 season productions will take place entirely in the digital realm, with both live and pre-recorded segments filmed in the UB Center for the Arts - on the UB North Campus – and will observe all social distancing and safety protocols for the best experience for the study body and dedicated patrons.

“Living in a Topsy Turvey World: The Theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan”
March 26 - 27, 2021 and 7:30 p.m.
March 28, 2021 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


The traditional spring 2021 musical will be a newly conceived virtual music theatre revue. The compilation of songs and scenes are from four shows written by the 19th century team of Sir Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert, who became beloved for their knack for turning the world upside down.

The show is conceived and music directed by Nathan R. Matthews, associate professor in the department. A UCLA alumnus, Gary John La Rosa, returns to direct his fourth production for Theatre and Dance. He has staged well over 300 productions nationally. LaRosa is respected for accurately recreating the Jerome Robbins staging of “Fiddler on the Roof,” he directed its 50th anniversary on Broadway and appears in the current PBS streaming documentary, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles.”

The show features a cast of UB performance students enrolled in Matthews’ creative research project course.

“TRIFLES,” By Susan Glaspell
April 9 – 10, 2021 @ 7:30 p.m.
April 11, 2021 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


UB Theatre and Dance will stream two versions of “Trifles,” under the direction of Meredith Conti, assistant professor and associate chair in the department. “’Trifles’ is a character-driven piece that explores how long distances and extreme isolation affect human relationships, as well as the hope that can be found in supportive communities," Conti remarks. "It may have been first performed in 1916, but ‘Trifles’ feels perfectly crafted to speak to our present moment. With two casts of actors and Zoom as our artistic medium, we will be able to explore the diverse issues in Glaspell’s play in ways unique to 2021.”

MFA Dance Thesis Concert
April 16 – 17, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
April 18, 2021 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Online via UB Center for the Arts YouTube. Visit the CFA website for more information.

The fourth annual MFA Dance Thesis Concert will feature new works by MFA student choreographers Kate Mackey and Phil Wackerfuss, with undergraduate dancers Anna Caison Boyd, Lily Colligan, Alexis Corletta, Zuriel Enoe, Devon Hard, Katy Maddalina, Delia Mandik, Leah Mcnerney, Mia Pierce, Haley Sanders and Natasha Skidmore, along with collaborator and editor Michael Spears. The faculty supervisor is Ariel Nereson, assistant professor and director of graduate dance in the department.

The production showcases the work of the department’s graduating MFA students and features collaborations with other media artists and students.

Student Directed Series: “Pipeline,” by Dominique Morisseau
April 23 – 24, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
April 25, 2021 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Online via

Co-directed by junior Sydné Jackson and sophomore Tioga Simpson, “Pipeline” will be rehearsed and performed entirely virtually by an all-student cast and crew. “Pipeline” is the first play to be presented by Theatre and Dance’s Dreams Affirmed collective, an alliance of students of color from across the Department. It is also a part of the annual Student Directed Series.

“Shutter Speed: An Evening of Dance on Film”
April 30 – May 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Online via UB Center for the Arts YouTube. Visit the CFA website for more information.

UB Theatre and Dance’s “Shutter Speed: An Evening of Dance on Film” will feature original dance film premieres from a dozen choreographers, comprised of undergraduate students and MFA candidates. A new interdisciplinary collaboration will commence with professional choreographer and department chair Anne Burnidge; poet Eli Clare, one of the 2020-21 UB Center for Diversity Innovation Distinguished Visiting Scholars; and a team of undergraduate and graduate students.

More than 60 UB dance majors and MFA candidates will be featured, with pieces ranging from a singular performer, to duets and larger group pieces, in multiple outdoor locations with different themes and contexts. Dancers are upholding the highest safety precautions with respect to COVID -19. All dancers must be masked at all times and remain socially distanced.

The program is under the direction of Jenna Del Monte Zavrel, clinical assistant professor in the department. The student choreographer / filmmakers include: Daniella Bertrand, Anna Caison Boyd, Jacqueline Cherry, Alexis Corletta, Maria Gionis, Melanie Kaisen, Meg Kirchhoff, Homeria Lubin, Karrigan Rotella and Samantha Schmeer.

“The Center in Motion: A Virtual Dance Concert”
May 6, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
May 7, 2021 at 10 a.m. (Schools Performance)
May 7, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Online via UB Center for the Arts YouTube. Visit the CFA website for more information.

UB Theatre and Dance will present a unique new dance project this spring titled “The Center in Motion: A Virtual Dance Concert,” Featuring the talents of more than 60 student choreographers, dancers, designers and technicians working in collaboration. The show is co-directed by Kerry Ring, clinical associate dance professor; Lynne Koscielniak, design technology theatre professor; and UB alumnus Michael Deeb Weaver, adjunct dance instructor.

From a design and safety perspective, works are being created following all health and safety guidelines. Multiple versions of reconfigurable translucent barrier scenery have been constructed to support various artistic visions and individual dance pieces of varying length within the same program. This allows small groups of dancers-no more than four at a time- to be onstage together, while completely separated by the vinyl barriers, which can be shaped and lit theatrically to add interest and dimensionality.

Faculty dance directors Ring and Deeb Weaver will create choreography for the program, along with first year MFA candidate Abby Cass, along with undergraduate dance majors, including Stephanie Avila, Lyssie Hartzog Kyle Kershner, Ava Lovsin, Homeria Lubin, Mandy McLenigan, Ally Mersereau and Kelsey Sullivan. Under the mentorship of Koscielniak, new set, light and projection designs are contributed and facilitated by undergraduate theatre design and technology students Eve Brunswick, Molly Crandall, Isabella Fortunato, Francisca Losada Hernandez, Sophie McGuire, Katja Rabus, Timothy Swenson, Nicholas J. Taboni and Timothy “TJ” Wildow.

The spring 2021 season is a mix of ticketed performances on showtix4u.com and free performances – with donations welcome - on the UB Center for the Arts YouTube channel. See each individual show listing above for platform information.


Tickets for Theatre Performances available on showtix4u.com
$6: General Public
$4: Students/Seniors
$10: Group Viewing


For more information visit ubcfa.org

Media Contact Information

Jackie Hausler
Associate Director of Communications
College of Arts and Sciences