University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television presents ‘The Thanksgiving Play’


CONTACT: Kerryn Negus, Director, Advancement and External Relations •  •
The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television

Tucson, AZ – September 25, 2023

‘The Thanksgiving Play’ has lots of laughs, plenty of medicine

The School of Theatre, Film & Television (TFTV) is proud to present The Thanksgiving Play, a satirical comedy from playwright Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation), Oct. 8-22 in Tornabene Theatre.The Thanksgiving Play follows a troupe of well-meaning theater artists whose attempts to put on a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving school pageant go awry. The play is presented in repertory with The Laramie Project.

From its debut, The Thanksgiving Play connected with audiences and quickly built momentum. By 2019, it was one of the top 10 most-produced plays in the United States. The play made its Broadway debut earlier this year, making FastHorse the first Native American woman known to have a play produced on Broadway.

TFTV’s production of The Thanksgiving Play is directed by guest director Randy Reinholz. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Reinholz is the founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Native Voices at the Autry, the nation’s only Equity theater company dedicated exclusively to the development and production of new plays by Native American, First Nations, and Alaska Native playwrights.

“In the beginning, folks wondered if this comedy about Thanksgiving – the most misunderstood Native American holiday traditionally told by non-Native Americans – could have this many race observations and still be funny,” said Reinholz.“It turns out that The Thanksgiving Play has lots of laughs and plenty of medicine. We hope that audiences have a great time, and perhaps come away wondering: what if Native people had more forums for stories, what else might we know, what laughs might we share, and what harm might be prevented?”

Cast member Alyssa DiRaimondo (BFA Acting) added, “Working with Randy Reinholz on The Thanksgiving Play has been an incredibly inspiring process. This play dives heavily into the injustices that Native Americans face and since none of the cast identifies as Native, we were all a bit apprehensive on how to navigate our way through the play. Randy listened to our fears and made sure to create a welcoming rehearsal space where we all could ask questions and learn together. I will forever be grateful for his lessons, vulnerability and never-ending support.”

This production will have 8 performances between Oct. 8 – 22, including a special post-show discussion with the director and cast on Friday, Oct. 13. Ticket discounts are available. This production qualifies for our free student ticket program.

What       The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television presents  THE THANKSGIVING PLAY
Where     Tornabene Theatre, 1025 N Olive Rd, Tucson AZ 85719
When      October 11 – 22, with a preview performance on October 8

The Thanksgiving Play is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

Kerryn Negus
Director, Advancement and External Relations
School of Theatre, Film & Television