Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


July 1, 2010

Iowa Summer Rep 2010 stages Theresa Rebeck's comedy 'The Family of Mann'

The Iowa Summer Rep 2010 festival of comedies by Theresa Rebeck will continue with its third production, "The Family of Mann," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 13, in the David Thayer Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Other performances will be held at 8 p.m. July 14-18, and 20-25.

In "The Family of Mann" a young writer learns that TV comedy can be a grim business. Fresh from the East Coast and overwhelmed to be suddenly earning so much money, Belinda signs on with a new sitcom -- titled by the cheap pun "The Family of Mann" -- eager to write intelligent scripts.

But her high-mindedness puts her at odds with everyone else in the writers' room, from the autocratic executive producer who would be happy ruling a banana republic, to the catty female colleague who has long-since mastered the art of burying her enemies with praise.

"I find that in each of Rebeck's plays we find characters searching to become more fulfilled human beings in a world that often values the invidious ostentation of material success and consumption over spiritual, moral growth," says director May Beth Easley, a 15-year veteran of Iowa Summer Rep.

"As a woman, I believe Rebeck speaks directly to the challenges of the female experience within a male-dominated, consumerist American culture," she observes. "'Family of Mann' resonates for me personally as it revolves around the entertainment industry and addresses the conflicts of art vs. fame; artistic expression vs. commodity; and ultimately, true individual artistic development vs. 'the current.'

"One question that Rebeck is looking to address is the price one is willing to pay to achieve fame and the comforts associated with fame: How much do we compromise our integrity to achieve fame? All of this while being quite funny at the same time."

Other artistic contributors to "The Family of Mann" include scenic designer Sasha Olchefske, costume designer Andre Harrington, lighting designer Paul Collins and sound designer Mark Bruckner.

Dinners, prepared by Iowa Memorial Union Chefs, will be available opening night beginning at 7 p.m. A menu is available by email from the Hancher box office. Dinners will also be available before each Thursday, Friday and Saturday performance throughout Iowa Summer Rep.

The Summer Rep 2010 schedule, which runs through July 25, will features Rebeck's "Mauritius," and "The Scene," and a staged reading of her Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Omnium Gatherum."

Rebeck is best known for her writing for television, including many episodes of "NYPD Blue," "L.A. Law," and "Law and Order." With her many published stage plays, three produced screenplays, two published novels, and one book of essays to her credit, she is a growing force in American theatre and entertainment.

She has said that her plays are about "betrayal and treason and poor behavior. A lot of poor behavior." She has also said, "As a writer, I have always considered it my job to describe the world as I know it; to struggle toward whatever portion of the truth is available to me.

"I am a feminist in that I believe that women are as fully human as men and that their experiences are as worthy of representation, as universally significant, as men's. I believe that the hero's journey is both male and female. I believe that, as a rule, women are as deeply flawed as men are. I'm interested in writing about the way both genders make mistakes and the ways we grow, or don't grow."

In addition to her work for stage and television, Rebeck wrote the screenplays for the films "Harriet the Spy," "Gossip," and "Sunday on the Rocks."

She also wrote "Free Fire Zone," a book of comic essays about writing and show business; she has written for American Theatre magazine; and excerpts of her plays have been published in the Harvard Review.

Rebeck's first novel, "Three Girls and Their Brother," was published in 2008, and her second novel, "Twelve Rooms With A View," was published this spring.

Among her many other honors are the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award and the Peabody Award for her work on "NYPD Blue."

"The Family of Mann" contains material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should call the Department of Theatre Arts -- 319-335-2700 -- for additional information.

Iowa Summer Rep is an U/RTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) professional company employing Equity actors and stage managers, as well as students who earn points toward their Actors Equity card.

The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tickets for each Iowa Summer Rep show are $24; senior citizen $22; youth $12 and UI students $5. Both individual performance and advance ticket sales will be available at the door one hour before each performance. Simultaneous purchase of both Iowa Summer Rep productions qualifies for a substantial series discount.

Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher Box Office, now located in the Old Capitol Town Center. Tickets also may be ordered online 24 hours a day at

Hancher Box Office summer business hours, for walk-up and phone sales, are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. 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. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at 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, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Beth Easley,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),

PHOTOS are available at