MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY brings The Simpsons to IU Theatre

September 24, 2015 (Updated Oct 21)

Bloomington, Ind – On October 23rd, the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will present perhaps the most talked about new play of the last decade: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, by Anne Washburn.

Mr. Burns takes place in a fallen American future, where a band of survivors retell Simpsons episodes around a campfire in an attempt to conjure a shared, comforting past. But as the years pass, and a budding civilization emerges, these tales take on the symbolic power of religion.

“There’s something about the tenacity of the human spirit – in this grim setting – that is incredibly powerful,” explains director Jonathan Michaelsen, who is also the Department Chair. “For me, it’s a wonderful affirmation of my belief that people fundamentally have a need to come together and tell stories. It’s a celebration of the art of theater in many respects.”

Washburn originally conceived of the piece with members of The Civilians, a New York City-based troupe, specializing in experimental theater. When it opened in New York in 2013, the New York Times raved, “… downright brilliant… [this play] has arrived to leave you dizzy with the scope and dazzle of its ideas.”

Mr. Burns transcends typical theater genres: part naturalistic play, part Noises Off-style behind-the-scenes farce, part full-on musical theater, the play demands a tremendous breadth of talent from both the cast and designers.

“The uniqueness of the piece is something to celebrate and grapple with at the same time,” says Michaelsen. “Each of the three acts has a distinctly different style and structure. In directing it, I’ve got to look closely at each of styles and embrace them all, fully – not try to shy away from that.”

WHAT: Mr Burns: a post-electric play, by Anne Washburn, presented by Indiana University Theatre, Drama & Contemporary Dance

WHERE: The Ruth N. Halls Theatre and the Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

WHEN: October 23 – 31, 7:30pm and October 31, 2pm

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for seniors. 812.855.1103 or For group discounts contact Stacy Brown (

More Early rehearsal pictures and Tech week pictures are available!


Act 2, L to R – Alex Goodman, Courtney Reid Harris, Jason Craig West, Robert Toms (in the air), Elaine Cotter, Tara Chiusano


Act 2, L to R – Alex Goodman, Courtney Reid Harris, Scott Van Wye, Tara Chiusano, Robert Toms, Elaine Cotter


Courtney Reid Harris (Marge), Robert Toms (Bart on hood), Tara Chiusano (Lisa), Jason Craig West (Homer driving)


Act 2, L to R – Alex Goodman, Robert Toms, Scott Van Wye, Nick Pappas (understudy for Jason Craig West), Elaine Cotter, Tara Chiusano


Act 2, L to R – Alex Goodman, Courtney Reid Harris, Robert Toms, Nick Pappas (Understudy for Jason Craig West), Elaine Cotter


Act 3, L to R – Tara Chiusano (Lisa), Robert Toms (Homer), Elaine Cotter (Bart), Audrey Deinlein (Marge)


Robert Toms (Homer), Tara Chiusano (Lisa), Audrey Deinlein (Marge)

Costume and Scenic Renderings
Kelsey Nichols, Costume Design
Reuben Lucas, Scenic Design

Act 3 Bart Act 3 Homer Act 3 Itchy and Scratchy Act 3 Lisa Act 3 Marge Act 3 Mr. Burns Act 3 Willy BURNS_MODEL_Act 1 BURNS_MODEL_Act 2-3 BURNS_MODEL_Act 3-3###