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NMSU Theatre Arts presents Sarah Ruhl's "The Clean House"

The American Southwest Theatre Company at New Mexico State University Theatre Arts will present the American comedy, "The Clean House," from Sept. 25 to Oct. 11, at the Hershel Zohn Theatre on the NMSU campus.

From left: Cast members Layle Chambers, Claudia Billings, Monika Mojica and Robin Dorfman rehearse a scene from "The Clean House." The production is the first for the 2009-2010 season and open Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Zohn Theatre. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

"The Clean House" is the first production of the 2009-2010 ASTC/NMSU season. Sarah Ruhl's contemporary comedy follows Brazilian house cleaner Mathilde, who is on a mission to find the perfect joke, even if it kills her.

"NMSU is one of the first universities to present this new work produced on Broadway just a few seasons ago. Sarah Ruhl is one of America's finest playwrights, and we are thrilled to present her work for the first time to our audience," NMSU Theatre Arts Department Head Tom Smith said.

"The Clean House" will be directed by guest artist Jeffrey Mousseau. Mousseau is a director and producer based in New York. In addition to his extensive directing credits, he is the general manager of the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York City.

"Guest director Jeffrey Mousseau is coming from New York to bring this funny and touching comedy to life and will also offer workshops to NMSU students and the Las Cruces community as part of AST's outreach mission," Smith said.

Mousseau leads an experienced production team including NMSU Theatre Arts faculty members Jim Billings (scenic and lighting design), Deb Brunson (costume design), David Hereford (props design), and Mike Wise (sound design and stage management). Aly Sanchez will serve as choreographer.

The cast features popular local actors often seen on the Hershel Zohn Theatre stage. NMSU Theatre Arts faculty member Claudia Billings plays Virginia, while community actors Layle Chambers (Lane), Mike Cook (Charles), Monika Mojica (Mathilde), and Robin Dorfman (Ana) complete the cast.

"'The Clean House' encapsulates the spirit behind the American Southwest Theatre Company, bringing together a resident company with students and theater professionals to produce the finest theater in the region," Smith said.

The production will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. A Thursday preview performance will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 along with a Thursday performance on Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

At 6 p.m., prior to the preview performance on Sept. 24, ASTC at NMSU Theatre Arts will celebrate the opening of their 2009-2010 season with a season opening gala. Food, drinks, music by Mariachi Diamante of Las Cruces High School and a ticket to the show are included for only $15. Regular performances are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and NMSU faculty and staff and $10 for students.

"The Clean House" production contains adult language and content. For more information call the NMSU Theatre/ASTC box office at (575) 646-4515 or 1-800-646-ASTC.