School of Performing Arts Presents David Mamet’s ‘Glengarry Glen Ross‘

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Theatre majors Kenzy Forman (left), a senior from Reston, Virginia, and Kirstin Wolf (right), a sophomore from Forest, Virginia, get into character as they rehearse a scene.

Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Glengarry Glen Ross” by David Mamet will close out the 2016–17 Mainstage Theatre season for the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts. The play opens April 18, with 10 performances through April 27.

A contemporary American classic, “Glengarry Glen Ross” dives into the cutthroat world of real estate, where salesmen scramble for their piece of the American dream, using any means necessary. Premiering on Broadway in 1984, the play has been revived twice since, earning 11 Tony nominations and three wins throughout its production history.

“Glengarry Glen Ross” was brought to the big screen in 1992, featuring such well-known actors as Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, and Alec Baldwin.

Virginia Tech’s performance will take a fresh approach by casting the male roles with female actors. Among the cast is Kenzy Forman, a senior theatre major from Reston, Virginia, who plays Shelley “The Machine” Levene, an aging salesman struggling to recapture his former glory. Forman said she is looking forward to the challenge of portraying Levene.

“He’s completely different from anyone I have gotten the chance to explore,” she added.

Students are also involved in the design of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Costume designer Mary Rathell, a second-year master’s of fine arts candidate from Bethesda, Maryland, said this project has given her a great opportunity to grow, especially with the gender reversal.

“It has been interesting to learn about how to drastically change someone’s appearance,” she said.

Junior Rhi Sanders, a theatre major with a focus in set design from Haymarket, Virginia, serves as scenic designer for “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Her challenges came from the logistics of the play’s settings.

“I had the given of where a particular character’s office would be,” she said, “and I needed to take all of these items and create something that was both interesting and useful to the actors.”

Sanders said the appeal of “creating worlds and structures for actors to play in” was what drew her to design.

Directing the play is Bob McGrath, a three-time Obie Award winner whose most recent Mainstage show, “The Trojan Women,” presented a new interpretation of the classic play. McGrath, who is an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts, is also co-founder and director of Ridge Theater, a company known for its multimedia presentation of theatre and opera.

In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Mamet, arguably one of the country’s most influential and provocative writers, has received multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his screenwriting and accrued a lengthy list of Broadway premieres.

Performances of “Glengarry Glen Ross” are  April 18–21 at 7:30 p.m., April 22 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and April 24–27 at 7:30 p.m. All performances are in the Squires Studio Theatre, located in the Squires Student Center at 290 College Ave. on the Virginia Tech campus.