Penn State Centre Stage to present 'Good Kids' beginning Nov. 16

November 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Centre Stage has partnered with fellow Big Ten Conference schools to commission, produce and distribute new plays in an effort to create exciting and empowering roles for young women. The program’s first commissioned work, "Good Kids," is written by Naomi Iizuka, one of the nation’s most acclaimed young authors and the head of playwriting at the University of California, San Diego.

Provocative and stunningly current, "Good Kids" explores the very public and unsettling aftermath of a sex crime and its cover-up. Who's telling the truth? Whose version of the story do you believe? And what does that say about you? Directed by Holly Thuma and choreographed by Michele Dunleavy, Penn State Centre Stage will present "Good Kids" Nov. 16–Dec. 5 in the Pavilion Theatre.

“The chairs of the Big Ten theatre programs meet annually, and three years ago we agreed to pool our resources to commission a new play each year to create roles for the many talented young women in our programs (dramatic literature being traditionally dominated by male roles),” said Dan Carter, director of Penn State’s School of Theatre. “We have attracted exciting playwrights to our cause, as audiences will see in our production of 'Good Kids' by Naomi Iizuka, the first such play in this series.”

In an effort to raise awareness and combat sexual violence, Penn State is also producing events in association with the production of "Good Kids" to address the matter. "Good Kids" audience members are invited to attend an informative panel discussion after each performance (except the matinee on Dec. 5). The panel discussions, which are being organized by the Commission for Women's Personal Safety and Sexual Assault Awareness committee, will be held in the Pavilion Theatre immediately following each performance and will last approximately 30 minutes. Every panel discussion will be led by a moderator and will feature three or four panelists from three main groups: victim advocates (such as the Center for Women Students and Counseling and Psychological Services [CAPS]), law enforcement/student conduct, and student groups (such as Sexual Violence Prevention & Awareness and Peers Helping Reaffirm, Educate, and Empower [PHREE]).

Additionally, a number of Penn State colleges and organizations have partnered to produce a conversation about the subject matter in "Good Kids" via the College of Arts and Architecture’s Salon Conversations series. Led by Susan Russell (associate professor of theatre and 2014-15 Penn State laureate), Nancy Schwartzman (filmmaker and founder of Tech 4 Good LLC, creating the Circle of 6 app), and Theresa K. Vescio (associate professor of psychology and women’s studies), this event is free and open to the public. It will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 5-7 p.m. on the third floor of the Health and Human Development (HHD) Building. Light hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be served from 5–5:45 p.m. in the lobby of the HHD Building. Penn State collaborators for this event include the colleges of Arts and Architecture, Health and Human Development, Communications, and the Liberal Arts, and the Center for Student Conduct, Center for Women Students, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. For more information, please contact Wilna Taylor, student engagement coordinator, at, or Angela Smith, assistant to the student engagement coordinator, at

“I am happy and honored to have been given the opportunity to direct 'Good Kids' for Penn State Centre Stage,” said Thuma. “I wish I did not have to say the play is as timely as it is, however, issues of sexual assault are center stage on campuses all across the country, and many people are sincerely seeking solutions to this problem. I believe the arts can be a profound catalyst for social change, and I am hopeful that this production of 'Good Kids' and its associated events will engender much needed meaningful discussion in our Penn State community.”

The show previews at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 18. The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 30, and Dec. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5. Tickets are $18 for evening performances, $16 for preview/matinee shows, and $12 for Penn State students with a valid Penn State student ID. An opening night dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Faculty Staff Club in the Nittany Lion Inn. The cost is $45 (does not include show ticket, but transportation to and from the show is included). A cash bar will be available beginning at 5 p.m. for those attending the dinner. For additional show information or to purchase tickets, visit Tickets are also available at Penn State Tickets Downtown, the Eisenhower Box Office, and the Bryce Jordan Center, or by calling (814) 863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX. Generous student and group sales discounts are available.

Last Updated November 12, 2015