The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance and School of Music will present the jazz opera Street Scene based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play by Elmer Rice, with lyrics by Langston Hughes, and music by Kurt Weill. Street Scene is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., and will be presented at 7:30 p.m. February 26, 27, and March 1, 2, 3, and 4. There will also be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. February 28. All performances will take place in the University’s Center for the Performing Arts Theatre.
Set on the front stoop of a New York City brownstone, Street Scene interweaves the lives of its characters to explore the lives of first generation Americans. Rice, Hughes, and Weill combine a variety of musical styles, including jazz and traditional opera, with dialects, poetry, and conversation to examine the effects of urban life on everyday people.
Assistant Professor Robert Quinlan, director of Street Scene, states that “though Weill and Rice were writing for an America of the past, the timeliness of their themes resonates clearly in this election year. The questions they ask are the same ones that occupy us today. How can America adapt to an influx of immigrants and a shifting national identity? Does a capitalistic society promote certain injustices and wealth gaps? How does our culture promote violence? Weill and Rice do no attempt to provide simple answers to these questions but they do remind us of the importance of wrestling with them.”
For tickets or information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Center for the Performing Arts, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Area college and high school students with a valid student ID can purchase half-price student tickets for the March 3 performance. Half-price student tickets must be purchased in person at the College of Fine Arts Box Office.