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WCSU Theater Department to present ‘Uncle Vanya” in October

Image of Joseph Calabrese and Alicia Napolitano in a scene from "Uncle Vanya"
Joseph Calabrese and Alicia Napolitano in a scene from “Uncle Vanya”

DANBURY, CONN. — Anton Chekhov’s classic 1898 play, “Uncle Vanya” will come to the stage at Western Connecticut State University this month. Presented by the university’s Department of Theatre Arts, performances will be at 8 p.m. on Oct. 12, 13, 19 and 20; with 2 p.m. matinees on Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21. It will take place in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. General admission is $20. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (203) 837-8732.

A popular plot summary describes a retired professor who has returned to his estate to live with his beautiful young wife, Yelena. The estate originally belonged to his late wife. Sonya, the professor’s daughter, who is about the same age as his new wife, also lives on the estate. The professor is pompous, vain and irritable, and occasionally calls in a doctor named Astrov for gout issues. Astrov and Uncle Vanya both fall in love with Yelena, but she rejects them both. Meanwhile, Sonya is in love with Astrov, who fails to notice her. Finally, when the professor announces he wants to sell the estate, Vanya tries to kill him. Family conflict, unrequited love and darker motives play out in this newer rendition of the Russian play.

“Uncle Vanya has been one of my favorite Chekhov plays since I was a graduate student,” said producer and director of the show Pamela McDaniel. “On discovering Curt Columbus’ ‘New American Translation,’ this play has been on my short list of productions that I wanted to bring to the WCSU community. This fall has seen a confluence of student talent with translation that could allow for the realization of the piece, making it accessible to our audiences.”

The Russian playwright Chekhov first published “Uncle Vanya” in 1898 and received its Moscow premiere in 1899 in a production by the Moscow Art Theatre, under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski. The play was nominated for the Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Play in 2000 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival in 1992. It won the 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival and the story has been adapted for various films and opera performances.

The cast includes Joseph Calabrese, of Harwinton, as Vanya; John J. Mudgett, of Danbury, as Serebryakov; Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden, as Sonia; Alicia Napolitano, of Woodbury, as Yelena; Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as Astrov; Jason Keane, of Trumbull, as Telegin; Kat Karl, of Redding, as Marya; Caleign Rose Lozito, of Bristol, as Marina; Brian O’Sullivan, of Montville, as Workman/Guitar; and Chris Planninschek, of Cheshire, as Yefim.

The crew includes: Production Manager and Technical Director Thomas Swetz, Set Designer Maiko Chii, Lighting Designer Scott Cally, Sound Designer Arielle Edwards and Costume Designer Joni Johns Lerner.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.