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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

August 26, 2004
CONTACT: Amy Cowles
(443) 287-9960

New Student Theater Troupe at
Johns Hopkins to Stage “Bluff”

Celebrating the launch of a new theater program, The Johns Hopkins University Theatre will open its inaugural season with a production of Jeffrey Sweet's "Bluff" at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, and Sat., Sept. 18, in the Meyerhoff Auditorium in the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, in Baltimore.

Johns Hopkins alumnus and faculty member John Astin created the acting company – formerly known as the Hopkins Studio Players and composed of students, professional actors, and Astin. Sweet's play tells the story of a young couple who fall in love while aiding the victim of a mugging. It deftly mixes comedic dialogue with its serious subject matter and has been nominated for an American Theatre Critics Award. It contains occasional strong language.

Johns Hopkins sophomore Kateri Chambers and Loren Dunn, a member of the class of 2004, hold the lead roles and are joined by local actress Laura Gifford. All three played to rave reviews in last year's production of "Our Town" (Chambers and Dunn as Emily Webb and George Gibbs, respectively, and Gifford as Mrs. Gibbs). Astin will also perform in the play. High resolution digital photos are available by e-mailing amycowles@jhu.edu.

This fall's production coincides with the launch of a revived theater program at Johns Hopkins and the establishment of a permanent home for the program in the Merrick Barn on the Homewood Campus, 3400 N. Charles St. Decades ago, when the school's Writing Seminars Department was known as the Department of Writing, Speech, and Drama, the Barn housed its drama activities.

Astin, a graduate of that former department best known for his role as Gomez Addams in the original Addams Family television series, returned to Johns Hopkins in 2001 to teach acting and directing. Since then, he has led a renaissance of the school's theatre program. His acting troupe has staged five productions in the past two years, including Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit," Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll House," and the narrative poem "Just Let Me Say This About That" by John Bricuth, also known as John Irwin, the Writing Seminars' Decker Professor in the Humanities. In establishing a home base for the program in the Merrick Barn, Johns Hopkins plans to renovate the space to include a student classroom, an office, and a scene shop for set production. The 2004-2005 season for Theatre Hopkins, a semi-professional group that uses the barn, will not be interrupted by the renovations.

Both performances of "Bluff" will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; $14 for seniors; $10 for museum members; and $5 for students. Call The Johns Hopkins University Theatre box office at 410-516-5153 for tickets, or e-mail your ticket request to hut@jhu.edu.

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