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Northwestern University Office for Research

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Creating New Knowledge
Creating New Knowledge

The Verona Project: A New Way of Telling an Old Story

As a storyteller, Amanda Dehnert, theatre, is dedicated to telling the trusth about the human condition as she sees it. Our lives are filled with extraordinary joys and deep sadnesses alike; yet we continue to risk ourselves simply by getting up in the morning.

As a theater artist, she cares most about making theater that is unexpected. Believing that nothing should be assumed about the theater we see, she considers it her job (and privilege) as an artist to make works that take the audience by surprise, create new ways of telling stories, and shock our systems into remembering that theater is a living, breathing art form.

As a musician and composer, she believes in the power of music, which speaks to us in ways that words never can. As a teacher, she is committed to inspiring her students to expand their visions of themselves and their capabilities, both as individuals in the world and as artists.

All this became the foundation for writing a story, told in words and rock songs, inspired by Shakespeare but wholly rooted in the themes of love, loss, survival, growing up, and growing older.

The Verona Project is the result of years Dehnert has spent investigating all these ideas and realizing that something had not yet been said in this particular way. Northwestern and the American Music Theatre Project (a research branch of the School of Communication dedicated to supporting and funding new works for the musical stage) have created an environment where the truly new and authentically human can be realized together in one of the most popular and accessible forms of theater: the American musical.

This article originally appeared in the Office for Research 2012 Annual Report.

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