[CUA Office of Public Affairs]                                                                        

Feb. 12, 2001

Catholic University Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Hartke Theatre

The Department of Drama at The Catholic University of America will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hartke Theatre with a showcase production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that begins Thursday, Feb. 15. The theater, named after longtime department chairman, the Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P., opened to the public on Nov. 20, 1970. 

The Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P.

Alumni, students and friends of the department will gather to pay tribute to the prestigious history of the theater. The anniversary committee is chaired by William H. Graham, M.A. 1954, and includes other notable alumni Philip Bosco, B.A. 1957, Halo Wines M.A. 1964, Alan Lee Hughes, M.F.A. 1972, Molly Smith, B.A. 1974, Jim Petosa, B.A. 1977, Jim Kronzer, M.F.A. 1985, Vincent Lancisi, M.F.A. 1988, Loretta Grecco, M.F.A. 1990, and many others who will host the first night gala of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a magical romantic comedy by William Shakespeare.

The production will feature Shakespeare scholar Gary J. Williams, M.A. 1966, associate chair of the Department of Drama and author of the much-praised Our Moonlight Revels: A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Theatre, a production history of the play. Professor Williams returns to the stage to play the role of Philostrate.

Kamyar Atabai will direct the anniversary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Mr. Atabai, a Yale Drama School graduate, most recently worked in New York with Julie Taymor on Gozzi’s The Green Bird.  Mr. Atabai collaborated with husband and wife set-and-costume-design team Richard and Sally Montgomery to create a modern British art scene as the backdrop. Lights by Martha Mountain will illuminate the stage setting, dressed up as today’s “forest” of high society and modern art.

Before the construction of the Hartke Theatre, productions were held in Ward Hall from 1937 until 1949. Father Hartke then purchased an Army surplus movie theater from the U.S. Army for one dollar and had it shipped from Camp Pickett, Va.  This structure housed the department until the roof fell in under the weight of snow in 1967.  Plans and fundraising began immediately for a new theater and, after three and a half years, Hartke Theatre opened with Helen Hayes, Walter Kerr and drama department alumnus Ed McMahon attending opening night festivities.

            A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented at the Hartke Theatre Feb. 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.  Ticket prices are $15 for general admission, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students and children. The Hartke Theatre is located at 3801 Harewood Road, N.E., in Washington, D.C. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 202-319-4000.

            Further questions should be directed to Stephanie Soscia, drama department business manager, at 202-319-5367.



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Revised: February 12, 2001

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.