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University of Iowa News Release


June 21, 2010

Iowa Summer Rep 2010 expands with Theresa Rebeck's 'Mauritius'

mauritiusThe Iowa Summer Rep 2010 festival of plays by Theresa Rebeck will expand with the comic thriller "Mauritius," which was her Broadway debut, at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 1, in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Other performances will be at 8 p.m. July 2, 3, and 8-10.

When estranged half-sisters Jackie and Mary realize their inheritance could include two rare and valuable misprinted stamps from the tiny nation of Mauritius, they become embroiled in a battle for possession that turns dangerous. They encounter three rival collectors who will go to any lengths to stake their claim on the find.

The warp-speed action has the audience guessing who's scamming whom as it pits scheming relatives against unscrupulous dealers and con artists -- all out to make it big in the world of high-stakes philately.

"Rebeck writes about how personal needs in our society, such as money, love, family or employment, can easily turn desperate, damaging our best intentions and possibly causing us to behave very badly," explains Eric Forsythe, Iowa Summer Rep artistic director and stage director of "Mauritius."

"In 'Mauritius,' the motive seems to be money at first, and it is that. But the larger needs eventually reveal themselves as well: the need to be loved, to be accepted, to be appreciated, to be admired. Without these, Rebeck reminds us, the money doesn't matter very much."

The Iowa Summer Rep cast includes UI alumnus and Cornell College faculty member Jim VanValen, an audience favorite in recent Iowa Summer Rep seasons; veteran Los Angeles Actors Equity member David Combs, whose resume ranges from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" to "Murphy Brown"; Theatre Arts graduate student Lauren Brickman; graduate acting student Kendall Lloyd; and Kristy Hartsgrove, another Iowa Summer Rep veteran who is an adjunct professor of theater at Coe College in Cedar Rapids and a teacher at the Englert School for Performing Arts.

Other artistic contributors to "Mauritius" include scenic designer R. Eric Stone, costume designer Jenny Kelchen, lighting designer Paul Collins and sound designer Mark Bruckner.

Dinners, prepared by Iowa Memorial Union Chefs, will be available opening night beginning at 7 p.m. A menu is available by email from the Hancher box office. Dinners will also be available before each Thursday, Friday and Saturday performance throughout Iowa Summer Rep, as well as on Tuesday, July 13.

The Summer Rep 2010 schedule, which runs through July 25, will features Rebeck's "The Family of Mann" and "The Scene," and a staged reading of her Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Omnium Gatherum."

Rebeck is best known for her writing for television, including many episodes of "NYPD Blue," "L.A. Law," and "Law and Order." With her many published stage plays, three produced screenplays, two published novels and one book of essays to her credit, she is a growing force in American theatre and entertainment.

She has said that her plays are about "betrayal and treason and poor behavior. A lot of poor behavior." She has also said, "As a writer, I have always considered it my job to describe the world as I know it; to struggle toward whatever portion of the truth is available to me.

"I am a feminist in that I believe that women are as fully human as men and that their experiences are as worthy of representation, as universally significant, as men's. I believe that the hero's journey is both male and female. I believe that, as a rule, women are as deeply flawed as men are. I'm interested in writing about the way both genders make mistakes and the ways we grow, or don't grow."

In addition to her work for stage and television, Rebeck wrote the screenplays for the films "Harriet the Spy," "Gossip," and "Sunday on the Rocks."

She also wrote "Free Fire Zone," a book of comic essays about writing and show business; she has written for American Theatre magazine; and excerpts of her plays have been published in the Harvard Review.

Rebeck's first novel, "Three Girls and Their Brother," was published in 2008, and her second novel, "Twelve Rooms With A View," was published this spring.

Among her many other honors are the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award and the Peabody Award for her work on "NYPD Blue."

"Mauritius" contains material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should call the Department of Theatre Arts -- 319-335-2700 -- for additional information.

Iowa Summer Rep is an U/RTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) professional company employing Equity actors and stage managers, as well as students who earn points toward their Actors Equity card.

The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tickets for each Iowa Summer Rep show are $24; senior citizen $22; youth $12 and UI students $5. Both individual performance and advance ticket sales will be available at the door one hour before each performance. Simultaneous purchase of both Iowa Summer Rep productions qualifies for a substantial series discount.

Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher Box Office, now located in the Old Capitol Town Center. Tickets also may be ordered online 24 hours a day at

Hancher Box Office summer business hours, for walk-up and phone sales, are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),

PHOTOS are available at

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-430-1013,