Theatre announces 2011-12 season

Featuring guest artists, a musical, a one-night-only performance from an Emmy Award-winning actress and very reasonable season ticket pricing, Willamette Theatre’s upcoming season productions examine the relationship between society and the individual.

“This year’s season offers a modern take on the everyman, allowing audiences to internalize the challenges faced by the main characters,” says Susan Coromel, theater professor and director of the season’s first play, “Smash.”

Willamette Theatre will also hold a single-night feature, “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three,” a captivating one-woman show written by Eric H. Weinberger starring Emmy Award-winning actress Elaine Bromka. 


Written by Jeffrey Hatcher, Smash begins Sept. 29 and runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. until Oct.15 with matinees Oct. 2, 9 and 15 at 2 p.m.

Set in a British women’s college, “Smash” romps its way through explorations of love, capitalism and human nature.

This adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's comic novel, “An Unsocial Socialist,” is a story about a young man with a dreadful moral dilemma. He is newly wedded and filthy rich, with everything life could possibly offer. So what’s the problem? He’s a socialist! 

The Seattle Weekly calls the play "Cunning, intelligent, and skillful,” further noting, “The author makes you, the audience, feel just as clever as he is. Brilliant writing.”

Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three

Emmy winner Bromka stars in this one-night-only production of “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three” on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The play portrays the remarkable lives of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford, giving insight into how each faced the unique responsibilities of being first lady.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Elaine Bromka, an Emmy Award-winning actress to perform her one-woman show,” said Coromel. Bromka’s performance has been called a “subtle feat of brilliant acting” by The Record-Review.

PeopleDance:  Stadium

Artistic Director Matthew Nelson and guest choreographer Kitty Sailer bring “PeopleDance: Stadium” to Willamette’s campus beginning Nov. 10. It runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. until Nov. 19, with matinees Nov. 13 and 19 at 2 p.m.

“PeopleDance” investigates the stadium setting, with its tendency toward polarity, competition and its simultaneous generation of community. The works will be dance-theatre oriented, using movement as a theatrical element.

The American Dream and The Sandbox

Written by Edward Albee and directed by Jonathan Cole, this double billing of one-act plays begins Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and runs Thursday through Saturday until Feb. 25, with matinees on Feb. 19 and 25 at 2 p.m.

“The Sandbox” introduces audiences to one of America’s most dysfunctional families. In this pioneering work, Albee manipulates clichés of language and social norms. “The American Dream” continues the story of “The Sandbox” with a ferocious and uproarious attack on the substitution of artificial for real values. Albee explores the hollowness of the American dream as well as the fallacy of the ideal American family.

The Adding Machine, A Musical

Willamette Theatre’s season ends with “Adding Machine, A Musical,” a play that The Boston Herald calls a “must-see.” This contemporary musical begins April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and runs nightly Thursday through Saturday until April 23, with matinees April 17, 24 and 30 at 2 p.m.

Based on “The Adding Machine” by Elmer Rice, the musical tells the story of Mr. Zero, an unlikely anti-hero for the working man, who, after 25-years of service to his company, is replaced by a mechanical adding machine. An eclectic score gives passionate and memorable voice to this stylish show, which The New York Times calls, “impossibly bleak, improbably brilliant.”

Several guest artists are featured in the production. Directed and choreographed by Jessica Wallenfels, Eric Nordin provides music direction, and Cecil Averitt returns to provide sound design.


With the exception of the one-night-only production of “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three,” general admission tickets for the first evening of each performance are $8, as are all tickets for students and seniors for any show. Matinees are $10 and evening performances are $12. 

This year, Willamette Theatre will hold a special season-ticket package for only $25 before Oct. 1, which includes a ticket for all four regular season productions and “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three.” Discounted rates are also available for groups of ten or more.

For more information, call 503-370-6222 or contact theatre manager Andrew Toney at