Mainstage Series to present 'Makeover' premiere

Mainstage Series to present 'Makeover' premiere

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New musical created by longtime collaborators

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present Makeover, a new musical freely inspired by the lives of entrepreneurs Estée Lauder and Mary Kay, as its Iowa Partnership in the Arts production for the 2013-14 season.

This work premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in the David Thayer Theatre of the UI Theatre Building. Additional shows will be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 7-8 and 12-15, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 9 and 16. Tickets are $17 ($12 for seniors, $10 for college students and youth 17 and younger, $5 for UI students with valid UI ID). Tickets are available through the Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160 or 800-426-2437 or online by visiting the Hancher website.

Makeover is told with insight and humor, and reflects a changing vision of women in our times. Abandoned after World War II, a feisty mom parlays her gift for glamour and gab into an empire catering to the dreams of women across the country. With book and lyrics by Darrah Cloud and an original score by Kim D. Sherman, Makeover spans the styles that shaped popular music for 50 years—including boogie woogie, be-bop, rock and roll, disco, and more. This new work proves that beauty, love, and life are inevitably more than skin deep.

Makeover is just one of many collaborations for Cloud and Sherman. The two have been collaborating on projects for many years (26, to be exact). Their first collaboration was an adaptation of O Pioneers! “We created something quite splendid,” Sherman says. “Our ‘voices’ spoke to each other. That was true from the first song (“I Call Your Name”) and continues to this day.”

The Iowa Partnership in the Arts program was established in 1992 to support the creation of major new works of theatrical art. Nationally and internationally respected guest artists collaborate with students and faculty to present adventuresome new works, many of which have gone on to be productions throughout the country. This program is part of a long tradition of UI faculty and students collaborating with professional artists to develop new work.

Their next collaboration was Honor Song for Crazy Horse. It came as the result of an opportunity to do another project for the University of Nebraska, where Iowa grad Charlie Davies was teaching. Davies brought Cloud and Sherman out to see his production of O Pioneers!, which had a cast of students directly related to Willa Cather’s characters, and then they were introduced to the work of Mari Sandoz.

“Yes, Honor Song for Crazy Horse was born in Nebraska,” Sherman says. “We spent a lot of time there and the Dakotas. We drove across the sand hills, camped out near all sorts of historical sites, and started to learn about the Lakota People. Once again, we embarked into the unknown with reckless abandon! We went to powwows. We spoke with tribal elders. But I think it was that land in Nebraska and North Dakota that found its way into my music.”

The musical, HeartLand, marked yet another collaboration for Cloud and Sherman. When asked about how the musical came about, Cloud says, “HeartLand, oh my heart! Three Sisters, but they get to Moscow—Iowa, that is. That is where we began—with that play on words—and slowly that musical was built as an examination of matriarchies of creative women, dashed dreams, and the idea that you can go home again, but you may not want to stay there after all.”

HeartLand premiered at TheatreWorks and was directed by Alan MacVey, professor and chair of the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts. Cloud and Sherman were then accepted to the National Alliance of Musical Theatre (NAMT) and presented the work in New York City at its annual festival. It was through NAMT that they eventually met the director, Nick Demos, who has been working with them on Makeover for several years now.

“So here we are, in Iowa working on Makeover,” Sherman says. “It took a lot of connections to get here, didn’t it?”

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

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Hancher Box Office in advance at 319-335-2700.

For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the Arts Iowa website.


Kristan Hellige, Division of Performing Arts, 319-335-3213


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