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Theatre Northwest delves into edgy comedic fare with summer production ‘Death Defying Acts’

Local talent appears in one-act pieces written by Woody Allen, David Mamet and Elaine May

After two wildly successful spring performances, Theatre Northwest will take time to laugh this summer with a production of “Death Defying Acts,” an edgy comedy featuring one-act pieces by acclaimed scribes David Mamet, Woody Allen and Elaine May.

Performances will take place at Indiana University Northwest on Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Raintree Hall auditorium, Room 102. There will be a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 28. Tickets are $10. Contact the Theatre Northwest box office at (219) 980-6808 for reservations.

First produced in the mid-1990s, “Death Defying Acts” features the contemporary wit and wisdom of three of America’s most accomplished dramatists. Mamet, known for such plays (and subsequent screenplays) as “American Buffalo,” “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Oleanna,” as well as screenplays for such A-list films as “The Edge,” “Hoffa” and “Wag the Dog,” contributes the darkly humorous segment “An Interview,” in which a word-twisting attorney gets tongue-tied during his most important presentation.

May, whose screenwriting work has included such hit films as “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams and “Primary Colors” with John Travolta, contributes the segment “Hotline,” which focuses on a truth-challenged prostitute in Manhattan and the suicide hotline worker who takes her call. And Allen, whose expansive body of work has often focused on his beloved New York, contributes the final, and longest, segment, “Central Park West,” in which two Manhattan couples enjoy a verbal brawl over one husband’s alleged infidelity.

Allen and Mamet, particularly, are known for their uninhibited dialogue, and so “Death Defying Acts” features mature themes that may not be suitable for children or younger teens. Parents are encouraged to use suitable discretion.

The Theatre Northwest cast for “Death Defying Acts” includes: David Spalaris, of Crown Point; Steven Pedrosa, of Hammond; Luke May, of Highland; Laurie Farver, of Hobart; Charlie Scanlon, of Lake Station; Taye Robinson, of Merrillville; Christine Hernandez, of Portage; and Rachel Prendergast, of Schererville.

IU Alumni Association members who would like to see “Death Defying Acts” may do so at a discount on June 27 as part of the IU Northwest alumni barbecue that will be held starting at 5 p.m. on the campus grounds south of Savannah Auditorium. Tickets to this event, which is part of this year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Indiana University Northwest campus, cost only $7 for IUAA members and include admission to the Saturday performance of “Death Defying Acts.” Non-members who would like to take advantage of this discount may pay $10 for a ticket to the barbecue, with the Theatre Northwest performance still included at no extra charge.

Raintree Hall is located directly in the middle of campus, south of the main campus parking at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary, just one-half mile south of I-80/94. Free parking will be available in the main lot.

For more information on “Death Defying Acts,” contact Pat Ogrinc in the IU Northwest Department of Performing Arts at (219) 980-6810, or email her at For more information on the June 27 alumni barbecue, contact IU Northwest Alumni Relations Director Paulette LaFata-Johnson at, or call her at (219) 980-6769.



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer

Related Links

Theatre Northwest

IU Northwest Department of Performing Arts

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