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Welcome to ‘The Jungle’: Department of Theatre and Film to Stage Adaptation of Novel

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present “The Jungle,” an award-winning adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel, written and directed by Matt Foss, UToledo assistant professor of theatre.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8-10 and 15-17, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

Sinclair’s landmark novel, written in 1906, exposed the appalling working conditions of immigrants employed in Chicago’s meat-packing industry. Originally written to shed light on issues surrounding workers, immigrants and the growing income disparity in America, Sinclair commented that he aimed for the public’s heart, but ultimately only “hit it in the stomach.”

The book prompted transformative changes throughout the industry and led to the development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but had little to no effect on immigration, poverty or workers’ rights.

The production features a large cast who stream over a three-story set, using printmaking techniques to create a turn-of-the-century packinghouse. Extensive choreography created by Abby Glanville, academic advisor in the College of Arts and Letters — along with design and technical work by Drew Parmelee, senior film/video major, associate sound designer; Kelly McBane, lecturer of theatre, costume shop manager; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, lighting and sound designer; Daniel Thobias, associate professor of theatre, production designer; and Nathaniel White, assistant lecturer of theatre, technical director and scene shop manager — create a dynamic, 90-minute telling of this classic novel.

Foss adapted and directed Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” for Oracle Productions in Chicago in 2014. That production received Chicago Jeff Award Nominations for outstanding production, director, ensemble, and won for best new adaptation.

The cast features Jordyn Beery, sophomore theatre major; Maggie Carder, freshman media communications major; Erin Coyne, sophomore theatre major; Emily Damschroder, sophomore theatre major; Jeffery Enck, freshman theatre design and technology major; Dona Gamblin, freshman theatre major; Sarena Jackson, 2019 UToledo theatre alumna; Shaquira Jackson, senior theatre major; Maya Kinney, freshman theatre major; Andrew R. Kleopfer, senior theatre major; Ben Kunec, sophomore theatre and communication double major; Becca Lustic, senior theatre major; Olivia Manias, junior creative writing major; Grace E. Mulinix, Toledo Early College High School senior and UToledo theatre major; Faith E. Murphy, senior theatre major; Alexandria Rayford-West, junior creative writing and theatre double major; Victoria Rinker, senior theatre major; Ezekiel Roberts, Toledo Early College High School junior and UToledo theatre major; Dillon Sickels, sophomore theatre major; Alec Simon. sophomore theatre major; Eve Smith, sophomore theatre major; Charlotte Vaughn, theatre major; and Kyle Yerg, senior philosophy and literature double major.

Members of the design team are Holly Monsos, interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Film, producer; Katelyn Justice, sophomore theatre major, paint charge; Matthew Kerr, electrical engineering major, assistant lighting designer; Addison Toth, sophomore theatre major, stage manager; Jared Kaplan, freshman political science major, and Elise Pahl, junior, theatre design and technology major, assistant stage managers; Christopher M. Montpetit, lecturer of theatre, theatre/production manager; and Imani Hudson, junior theatre major, house manager.

Tickets are $10 for students; $12 for UToledo faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $18 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

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