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ASU’s Herberger Mainstage Theatre pairs classic and alternative with Our Town and subUrbia

October 14, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. – Two different eras will come together when ASU’s Herberger Mainstage Theatre presents Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town and Eric Bogosian’s counterculture subUrbia in repertory beginning Nov. 6.

Set in 1901 Grover’s Corners New Hampshire, Our Town premiered on Broadway in 1938 and won rave reviews for its 2003 Broadway revival. Director and ASU theatre professor Pamela Sterling is using cross-cultural and cross-gender casting and sharing subUrbia’s convenience store parking lot set to create a modern-day setting for the classic story about the cycles of life, love and death.

“Although Grover’s Corners is a hundred years away from the lives of today’s youth, I believe younger audiences will discover that Our Town has something to say to them in 2003,” says Sterling. “There are obvious parallels that can be drawn between today and the time the play first premiered; impending war, economic depression, altered social structures and institutionalized racism.”

subUrbia is a scathing study of rootless American youth described by the New York Times as “Chekhov high on speed and Twinkies.” The play is about life in American suburbia from the viewpoint of a young generation that can aspire to nothing but entertainment and consumption.

According to subUrbia director Lance Gharavi, assistant professor of theatre, the play creates an “ideological and even oppositional dialogue with Wilder’s classic vision of the American community.” The youth of subUrbia “live in a McWorld littered with strip malls and subdivisions. Even disaffected rebellion has been marketed to them in the form of Pony, the rock-star character in the play.”

Although Our Town and subUrbia are generations apart, the repertory model suits them well. “We are exploring how these two plays talk to each other,” says Sterling.

Our Town speaks with compassion and subUrbia looks with a jaundiced eye at what the American community has become since the days of Wilder,” Gharavi said.

Our TownNov. 6, 8, 14, 16 and 20, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 9, 15 and 23, 2 p.m.
suBurbiaNov. 7, 9, 13, 15, 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 8 and 16, 2 p.m.
WHERE:Galvin Playhouse, Nelson Fine Arts Center, 51 E. 10th St., on the ASU campus.
TICKETS (per show):$14 adults; $12 seniors, faculty, staff and ASU alumni; $5 students. Buy-one, Get-one free on the first Friday of any Mainstage production.
Editor's Note: Suburbia contains mature themes and language.

Theatre is part of the ASU Herberger Mainstage Season featuring operas, musicals, dance and music performances. For a complete Mainstage schedule go to,

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay