CONTACT: Victoria Winkelman, 214-768-3785
Kami Duncan, 214-768-2788,

February 6, 2004


DALLAS (SMU) – The Division of Theatre at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present “The Snowmaiden,” the world premiere of Steven Drukman’s modern adaptation of a 19th-century play by Alexander Ostrovsky, based on a popular Russian folk tale. The play, to be directed by Greg Leaming, will be performed from Thurs., Feb. 19 to Sun., Feb. 22 and from Thurs., Feb. 26 to Sun., Feb. 29. Show times are 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 2 p.m. Sun. in the Bob Hope Theatre of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6 for SMU students, faculty and staff. Parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley and in the garage beneath the Meadows Museum. For more information, call the Meadows Ticket Office at 214.768.2787.

“The Snowmaiden” tells the story of the daughter of Winter and Spring, a beautiful young girl made of snow who longs to be able to feel love. In this classic winter myth, she ultimately gives her life to become human and to save her community by ensuring the return of the sun. “The Snowmaiden” was originally written in blank verse in 1873 by Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky; several years later, Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an opera based on the play.

The contemporary adaptation by Steven Drukman was commissioned by the Meadows School specifically for the actors in the school’s M.F.A. graduate theater program. Drukman was approached for the project by Greg Leaming, associate professor and head of directing in the Meadows Division of Theatre, who has worked with the playwright for four years and premiered two of his plays –“Going Native” and “Flattery Will Get You” – at the Long Wharf and Connecticut Repertory Theatres. The result is a “very edgy, rough-edged adaptation,” according to Leaming. The project was made possible by Dallas philanthropist Mildred M. Oppenheimer, who has provided a grant allowing the Meadows School to commission three plays over the next three years.

“The experience of working on a new play is unlike any other,” said Leaming. “This undertaking has given our students an opportunity to spend their rehearsal time discovering the unique style of a play, finding out how a play asks to be performed for the very first time without any clues to turn to from other productions! This is completely uncharted territory, and the experience of premiering a new script is exciting, terrifying, and ultimately very, very rewarding. Ms. Oppenheimer’s tremendous generosity has offered our students a once in a lifetime experience.”

Steven Drukman is a New York-based freelance writer who writes frequently for The New York Times, The Nation, The International Herald Tribune, Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, and many other publications. His play “Going Native” premiered at the Long Wharf Theatre in fall 2002. His satire of Washington, D.C., titled “Flattery Will Get You” (an adaptation of Alexander Ostrovsky’s “Diary of a Scoundrel”), was produced by Connecticut Repertory Theatre. His other plays include “The Bullet Round,” “The Grossers” (a finalist for the Heideman Award) and “Human Hands.” His plays have been workshopped at Playwrights Horizons, Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, the Lark Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop. He has a Ph.D. from New York University where he has been a professor for seven years and has been an associate editor at American Theatre magazine. In the summer of 2004, his play “Another Fine Mess” is being workshopped at Sundance; it will be produced at Portland Center Stage in the fall.

Greg Leaming joined SMU in 2002 from the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., where he served as director of artistic programming from 1997-2001 and as acting artistic director from 2001-2002. At Long Wharf, Leaming developed and produced the theatre’s eight-play season and directed the world premieres of “Abstract Expression,” “Syncopation,” “The Third Army” and “An Infinite Ache.” From 1992-96, Leaming was the artistic director of the Portland Stage Company in Maine. Leaming also served as the producing director of the Hartford Stage Company from 1996-97 and as associate artistic director of the theatre from 1988-92.