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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 29, 2009

Sedaris' 'Book of Liz' opens University Theatres Mainstage season

David and Amy Sedaris' cheese-ball comic hit "The Book of Liz" will open the University Theatres Mainstage season at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the David Thayer Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

Additional performances of the production, directed by third-year Master of Fine Arts directing student Anthony Nelson, will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10 and 14-17, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 11 and 18.

"The Book of Liz," which CurtainUp called, "75 brilliant minutes of hysterical theater," is story of naïve, earnest and extremely sweaty Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, whose secret-recipe smoky cheese-balls are the pride and financial sustenance of her Amish-like sect, the Squeamish.

Feeling underappreciated after being demoted to harvesting chives, she decides to abandon the community of Cluster Haven, her llama in tow and finds work at a Pilgrim-themed restaurant. Irreverent and relentless, the play pokes fun at the religiously conservative, AA, homosexuality and the question of what a breakfast burrito really is.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote, "Isn't it wonderful what a nimble set of hands can do with a simple cheese ball?"

And CurtainUp concluded, "Fans of David's books will find the keen wit that makes them so appealing in abundance; lovers of Amy's 'Strangers With Candy' will be equally satisfied."

The success of "The Book of Liz" has not depended on Amy Sedaris' inspired clowning off-Broadway, but has continued in many enthusiastically received productions throughout the country.

The UI production features Amanda Helland's stage design inspired by pop-up books. Audience members will see a 20-foot tall book in the center of the stage with projected turning pages and pop-up scenery.

The production also features costume design by Jenny Nutting Kelchen, lighting design by David Thayer, sound design by Andrew Stewart, projections design by Alex Scott and dramaturgy by Justin Dewey.

Tickets for "The Book of Liz" are $17 (seniors citizen $12, youth $10; and UI students $5 with a valid UI ID), and are available in advance from the Hancher box office in the Old Capitol Town Center.

For tickets, call 319-335-1160; toll-free 1-800-HANCHER; on-line People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

Any remaining tickets for each performance will be available for sale at the door one hour before show time.

University Theatres and the Department of Theatre Arts are part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: For additional arts information, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Anthony Nelson,; Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,