The University of Texas at Austin
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The Dean Performing Arts Series

Each semester, the University Honors Center provides opportunities for students to attend local and visiting performances complete with a special academic pre-performance seminar or lecture. Past events include the Austin Lyric Opera’s performance of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, the American Shakespeare Center’s production of The Duchess of Malfi, and Broadway Across America’s presentation of The Lion King.

Availability of tickets is announced via email to the honors community, and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Dean Performing Arts Series is made possible through the generous support of the L.L. and Ethel E. Dean Endowment.

2013 – 2014 Season

Wicked
Broadway Across America
Bass Concert Hall at the Texas Performing Arts Center
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wicked retells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, including her unlikely friendship with Glinda the Good, and the events that shape who they become.

Our evening began with a pre-performance talk from award-winning theatrical director and director of University Events, Rod Caspers. In his lecture entitled “A Lot of Us Have that Green Girl Inside of Us,” Caspers discussed Wicked’s creative journey from novel to Broadway musical, including some of the rockiest patches encountered by the creative team. Caspers explored a number of reasons as to why the current production has truly managed to “defy gravity” and soar high above the initial critical fallout.

Tosca
Austin Lyric Opera
Long Center for the Performing Arts
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tosca, one of opera’s most riveting dramas, centers around three characters enmeshed by rebellion, desire, and deception.

Our operatic journey began with a special pre-performance by Butler School of Music doctoral candidate Bethany McLemore. Bethany McLemore’s primary research interest is nineteenth-century song. Bethany’s current research deals with late nineteenth and early twentieth-century parlor song in England and America, considering the effects of corseting on women performing in the home, on musical sound and compositional choices, and how a corseted sound contributed to contemporary ideas of the sound of feminine virtue.

The Nutcracker
Ballet Austin
Long Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Nutcracker is an enchanting holiday ballet, which traditionally begins with a Christmas Eve celebration and concludes with a pageant of dancing sweets from around the globe.

In addition to the performance, there was a pre-performance seminar entitled “More Than One to Crack It: Reading The Nutcracker across Disciplines and Mediums” by Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez of the Department of Theater and Dance. In his lecture, Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez demonstrated how The Nutcracker’s relevance to many fields and and its availability to multiple mediums contributes to its enduring popularity internationally as a holiday staple.

The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice
Actors from the London Stage
McCullough Theater, UT Austin campus
Thursday, November 7, 2013

One of William Shakespeare’s timeless romantic tragedies, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice grapples with themes of lust and love, deceit and disguise, jealousy and betrayal.

Known for their unique performance style, Actors from the London Stage brought Othello to life with five classically trained actors with minimal props and costumes. In addition to the performance, there was a pre-performance seminar on “The Music of Othello” by Plan II alumnus Dr. James Loehlin of the Department of English.

The Spanish Tragedy
The Baron’s Men
The Curtain
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Considered the first “Revenge Tragedy” of the early modern drama period, Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy is a Machiavellian rollercoaster that explores the relationship between justice and revenge.

There was a special pre-performance talk scheduled with Professor Douglas Bruster of the department of English. Professor Bruster’s recent publication in Notes and Queries provides evidence linking five additional passages from the 1602 quarto of The Spanish Tragedy to William Shakespeare. Bruster’s argument, which hinges on a careful examination of Shakespeare’s handwriting and common misspellings, may provide sufficient evidence to admit the passages into the Shakespearean canon.