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ASTC announces plays for the upcoming season

A musical set in a Berlin cabaret, a comedic meeting between Einstein and Picasso and a man haunted by his tempting wife are just three of the five plays the American Southwest Theatre Company at New Mexico State University will present during the 1999-2000 season.

-- "Blithe Spirit," written by Noel Coward and first introduced on Broadway in 1941, runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 3. While at a dinner party, novelist Charles Condomine inadvertently conjures the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Charles must convince his second wife that he is not losing his mind while he dodges the efforts of beautiful Elvira to hasten his death.

-- "How I Learned to Drive," written by Paula Vogel, runs Oct. 26-31. Part of ASTC's theatre eclectic series, the play is the 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning tale of a young woman's sexual awakening. "USA Today" deemed the play as "one of the best plays of the decade." The subject matter is mature and not recommended for children.

-- "Holiday Memories," written by NMSU professor Ruth Cantrell, runs Dec. 3-12. Through holiday images, sounds, colors and smells, "Holiday Memories" is a nostalgic look at what makes the holiday season special.

-- "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," written by actor Steve Martin, runs Feb. 22-27. Also part of ASTC's theatre eclectic, "Picasso" is an imagined meeting between artist Pablo Picasso and physicist Albert Einstein at a Parisian cafe in 1904. The "New York Times" hailed Martin's play as "very good fun."

-- "Cabaret," a musical based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Ishenwood, runs April 21 through May 7. ASTC's season finale is set in 1929 Berlin, Germany. American writer Cliff Bradshaw encounters a seedy cross-section of Berlin nightlife just prior to the doomed city's fall into the Third Reich and World War II.

Season subscriptions are the only way to secure tickets for all of the plays. Four-play selections also are available. Curtain times are 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (including previews); 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinee. For season flyers, mailers and ticket information, contact the ASTC Ticket Office at (505) 646-4515 or 1-800-525-ASTC.