UST and CSC present 'Top Girls' Oct. 15-18

College of St. Catherine students (left to right) Carly Gubash,
Laura Hoover and Emily Hanson are cast members in the
UST-CSC production of Caryl Churchill's 1982 play, "Top Girls,"
Oct. 15-18 in Frey Theater at St. Catherine.

UST and CSC present 'Top Girls' Oct. 15-18

Students from the University of St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine, directed by Dr. Amelia Howe Kritzer, will perform English playwright Caryl Churchill's 1982 play about women and power, "Top Girls," at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 15-18, in Frey Theater on the campus of the College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Ave.

Tickets are $5 for general admission and free to students, faculty and staff with ID from the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Augsburg College, Macalester College and Hamline University). Seating is limited; reservations will be taken at The O'Shaughnessy Ticket Office at St. Catherine, (651) 690-6700.

A play with an all-female cast, "Top Girls" explores the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world and society at large, bringing together five historical female characters at a dinner party in a London restaurant given by Marlene, the new managing director of Top Girls employment agency.

The play was first staged on Aug. 28, 1982, at the Royal Court Theater in London before its New York debut Dec. 28, 1982, at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. "Top Girls" won a 1982 Obie Award for Playwriting and is performed regularly around the world. It has quickly become part of the canon of women's theater and helped solidify Churchill's reputation as a major playwright. The Manhattan Theater Club revived the play last spring at New York's Biltmore Theater.

The cast includes St. Thomas students Beth Anderson, Marissa Anderson, Valerie Brunnette, Ruth Heyer, Bridget Mueting and Kayla Schaller, and St. Catherine students Leslie Fortunato, Carly Gubash, Emily Hanson, Laura Hoover and Emilie Karas. UST students Brandyce Edson, stage manager, and Molly O'Gara, costume designer, complete the crew.

"Top Girls" is a natural for director Kritzer. Her book, The Plays of Caryl Churchill: Theatre of Empowerment (Macmillan, 1991), is considered the authoritative work on the playwright. It even was quoted in the program for the play's recent Broadway revival.

Kritzer, who rewrote some of the dialogue to reset the play in 1980s Chicago and Hibbing, Minn.,  commented, "It's always interesting for me to work hands-on with a play about which I have written. 'Top Girls' has a unique theatricality to which I am drawn, as a director. It has unforgettable characters that offer true challenges and rewards for actors. The theme of women's power– the power women have, and the power they don't have – fits with our theme for [theatrical productions] this year, 'Power Plays.'"