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Helen of Troy' makes her stop at SOPAC

imageThe Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) company will host a new musical production stage reading of “Helen of Troy” at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

“Helen of Troy is a fresh take on the ancient story of a beautiful but spoiled princess, a tale that has previously been narrated for thousands of years by an extremely biased Greek Chorus,” MDR managing director Jeffrey Shubart said.

“Helen of Troy” is based on the ancient Greek epic poem, “The Iliad” traditionally attributed to Homer. The music and lyrics are by Douglas J. Cohen and the book and lyrics are by Zoe Samuel. It is directed by Bradley Dean.

MDR was founded in June of 2010. It is a more than 100-member repertory theater company in residence at SOPAC. According to their website, middirrep. org, it was “named for the New Jersey Transit line on which local residents commute” to New York City.

The website said it is a group of “accomplished theater artists and seasoned Broadway veterans who call Maplewood/South Orange their home.”

“Catherine Brunell will be starring as Helen,” Shubart said.

The original story of “The Iliad” is set during the Trojan War and tells the battles and events between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Helen was said to be the most beautiful woman in the ancient world and is stolen from her husband and taken to Troy against her will.

“As the Chorus sees Helen’s story unfold one more time, they come to understand that they have been telling an outdated version of the tale that glamorizes the brutality of Agamemnon over unsung acts of heroism performed by Helen and friends,” Shubart said.

The performance is part of MDR in the Loft, which is a series of stage readings, where the production will be performed without full sets or costumes, according to the SOPAC website.

The New York Times described previous productions performedby Midtown Direct Rep as “A Place to Discover the Next Great Play,” while WNBC TV said: South Orange Lures Talent From the Big Apple.”

This stage reading will take place at SOPAC on Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at and are $15. Shubart said student rush tickets are only $10, two hours before show-time, subject to availability, box office only, one ticket per valid ID.

Rosemary Sweigart can be reached at rosemary.sweigart@student.shu. edu.

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