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University of Iowa News Release

March 4, 2005

Iowa Summer Rep 2005 Will Be A Festival Of Ludwig's Comedies

Iowa Summer Rep, the professional Actors Equity company organized by the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts, has selected a playwright for its 23rd annual single-playwright festival. Iowa Summer Rep 2005 will feature three of the hit comedies by Tony Award winner Ken Ludwig.

From June 24 through July 24, Iowa Summer Rep will present productions of Ludwig's "Lend Me a Tenor," "Moon Over Buffalo" and "Postmortem" in the UI Theatre Building. Subscriptions will go on sale mid-April and single tickets will be available in mid-May.

Ludwig, the author of several Broadway and London hits, has won the Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Helen Hayes Awards for shows reminiscent of the "screwball comedies" produced by Broadway and Hollywood decades ago.

"I used to think that Neil Simon was the funniest man alive," says Iowa Summer Rep Artistic Director Eric Forsythe, a faculty member in the UI Department of Theatre Arts. "I'm now convinced it's Ken Ludwig. Funny, and so inventive! Here's a true lover of theater, more particularly the American theater as it developed through the 1920s, '30 and '50s, but the sensibility is very much today's. This is lively, wonderful, infectious humor. I can't wait to start rehearsals!"

"Lend Me a Tenor" -- an opera backstage farce -- won two Tonys and an Outer Critics Circle Award and was nominated for England's prestigious Olivier Comedy of the Year Award. The show was not only a hit in London and New York, but also toured North America.

On Broadway, "Moon Over Buffalo" -- about a couple of theatrical has-beens giving it one last shot -- starred Carol Burnett, then Lynn Redgrave, and enjoyed a long run in London's West End.

"Postmortem," a hit off-Broadway in New York, is a comic whodunit featuring a 1920s actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, a murder-mystery séance at a spooky castle, deathbed letters, bottles crashing over heads and even a ghost or two.

For film, Ludwig wrote "All Shook Up" for director Frank Oz and Touchstone Pictures and adapted "Lend Me a Tenor" for Columbia Pictures.

Ludwig's work has been translated into more than 15 languages and performed in more than 30 countries around the world.

Ludwig took an unusual route to theatrical prominence: He came to Washington, D.C., in the 1970s as a lawyer. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, he joined the firm of Steptoe & Johnson, where he specialized in international law and intellectual property law.

For a decade he wrote for several hours before work each day, resulting in small-scale productions in church basements and minor summer theaters. But at one performance, he met a director from England who asked for plays to read.

Ludwig gave him a script entitled "Lend Me a Tenor," and the director showed it to a producer he knew -- a fellow named Andrew Lloyd Webber. Six months later, "Lend Me a Tenor" was on the stage of London's Globe Theatre, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Iowa Summer Rep has carved out a unique niche among professional summer, companies during the last two decades by making each season a festival of plays by a single contemporary playwright. Summer Rep is a U/RTA company  employing Equity actors and stage managers, as well as students who earn points toward their Actors Equity card.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu