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From the Alligator: George Orwell’s ‘1984’ coming to the Hippodrome

This story was originally published on the Alligator’s website.


Starting Sept. 1, both the audience and Big Brother can watch George Orwell’s “1984” at the Hippodrome State Theatre.

The play is meant to create discussion between audience members, said Lauren Caldwell, the Hippodrome’s artistic director. The Hippodrome is partnering with UF School of Theatre and Dance for the production.

Previews begin Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., and the play runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 24. Ticket prices range from $15 to $35, and are on sale at the Hippodrome box office and online.

The Hippodrome will also host panels for One City, One Story, a series of events related to the play. Panels will be held periodically from Aug. 24 to Sept. 18. Events will feature an Orwellian scholar, a fake news panel and conversations with the actors, Caldwell said.

Niall McGinty, the actor who plays the male lead, said the play doesn’t promote one political viewpoint but rather forces the audience to question their beliefs.

“When one person reads it, it’s kind of like a mirror, and you can kind of see your own viewpoints in it,” he said.

Caldwell said audience members should expect the play to tell Orwell’s story without a political slant. She said her job is to tell the story and let the audience decide what to take from it themselves.

“I’m not trying to tell the story from a left-wing or a right-wing point of view,” she said. “It’s a show about a warning, and some of those warnings have come true; some haven’t.”

Read the story on the Alligator’s website.


The Hippodrome kicks off its One City, One Story initiative with a community book club


What if an entire community read the same book at the same time?  Well, we’re about to find out.

Join us for Drinks + Dystopia: A Hipp Book Club, where we will explore George Orwell’s classic novel “1984.” On Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m., the Gainesville community will gather in the Hipp Basement to ask critical and relevant questions about the importance of truth, unconformity and independence.

We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Alachua County Library to feel a common connection to our neighbors at this free event.  Come drink wine and engage with your fellow book lovers on the value of community. Appetizers will be served, and there will be a full cash bar.     

The event is part of the Hippodrome’s community-wide read and conversation initiative, One City, One Story,  and will celebrate the upcoming co-production of “1984” on the Hipp Mainstage. Get your tickets at thehipp.org/1984tickets.

Visit our Special Events page for more information on other One City, One Story events.

“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” ― George Orwell, “1984”


Show your support of the arts: Stand with the Hipp

For 45 years, the Hippodrome has been steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, diversity and acceptance. Exploring our shared humanity and tackling tough questions through the arts has been at the core of our mission, and it has never been more important than now.

As Gainesville and UF move up in the ranks, the Hippodrome Theatre is moving right with them. We’ve expanded our independent cinema offerings, opened up more acting classes for kids and adults, and established our first permanent company of professional Equity actors.

Unfortunately, this year, the state legislature further slashed its allocation for cultural grants. In the current quarter, what would have been a $37,500 grant was reduced to $12,000. We need to close half of that gap by raising $12,750 in online support before our 45th anniversary season opens with “1984” on Sept. 1.

Recent shows like “Hamlet” and “Forever Plaid” have been hailed as among our best productions in years, and anticipation is growing for our co-production of “1984” with the UF School of Theatre + Dance.

Many hands make light work. Please pitch in what you can, share, and Stand with the Hipp!


The Hippodrome to bring karaoke back in September

Come to the Hipp to belt out your favorite songs with us — we’re bringing karaoke back to the basement Sept. 22!

Have fun with your friends at the Hipp during this FREE event. If you’re fearless, you can head right up to belt out your favorite lyrics. And for everyone else, we’ll keep our bartender pouring drinks if you need a dose of liquid courage.

It’s time to mark your calendars, Gainesville. Our doors will be open at 8:30 p.m., and you can sing Madonna and Prince all the way until midnight.



The Hippodrome brings back its One City, One Story initiative

This fall, the Hippodrome is partnering with UF School of Theatre + Dance to bring to life George Orwell’s “1984.”

As a part of this theatrical adaptation, we are spearheading a community-wide read and conversation initiative called “One City, One Story,” which begs the question: “What if an entire community read the same book at the same time?”

Here’s what we think will happen: We’ll feel a common connection to our neighbors. We’ll ask ourselves important questions about the importance of truth, uncomformity and independence. We’ll be more willing to listen to others, and more open to starting conversations.

One City, One Story was first presented at the Hippodrome in 2002 in conjunction with our production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Fifteen years later, Gainesville’s One City, One Story project will bring the community together again through a variety events in late August and early September:


August 4, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.: 1984 Observership Begins
Hippodrome Theatre
The Hippodrome Play Observership offers the opportunity for the public to go behind-the-scenes at a professional regional theatre and experience the creative process as the production team takes a play from page to stage. More information at http://thehipp.org/programs/adult-education/.

August 24, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Drinks + Dystopia: A Hipp Book Club
Hippodrome Basement
Come drink wine, meet your fellow book lovers and explore the classic novel “1984” in the Hippodrome Basement. In partnership with the Alachua County Library District. Full cash bar. Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/107010649986186/.

August 25, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Auditions for Readings of “1984”
Hippodrome Theatre
Join the Hippodrome team and audition to participate in readings of “1984” throughout our community in the month of September. Looking for seniors and high school students.

August 30, 5:30 p.m.: Community Reading of 1984 – Stars on the Steps
Hippodrome Porch
Join your fellow citizens on the steps of the Hippodrome to read from the novel “1984.”


Sept. 1 | OPENING NIGHT of “1984” at the Hippodrome Theatre
8 p.m. | The Hippodrome Theatre
Tickets at thehipp.org and at the box office at (352)375-4477.

Sept. 8 | “1984” Through the Lens of the Teen Ensemble
4 p.m. | Porters Rec Center
The Hippodrome Teen Ensemble will participate in a workshop for kids at the Porters Recreation Center. There, they will explore “1984,” filtering it through their experiences with today’s social media platforms. Keep an eye out for more dates to come!

Sept. 10 | Actor Talkback
4 p.m., after the Sunday matinee | Mainstage of the Hippodrome Theatre
Hear the backstage stories and learn how the actors, directors and designers make the magic happen onstage.

Sept. 12 | “1984”: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 
2:30 p.m. | Brookdale
Join the Hippodrome for a reading and discussion of themes in the novel from multi-generational perspectives.

Sept. 12 | Orwell’s Future; Our Present: A Talkback with Alex Woloch
9 p.m. | Mainstage of the Hippodrome Theatre
Attend a fascinating talkback with Alex Woloch, Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Stanford University and an Orwellian scholar, after the 7 p.m. performance of “1984.” He will discuss Orwell’s framework as a writer and his relevance in the contemporary political movement.

Sept. 14 | “1984”: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 
3 p.m. | Oak Hammock
Join the Hippodrome for a reading and discussion of themes in the novel from multi-generational perspectives.

Sept. 15 | “1984”: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 
4 p.m. | Alachua County Library (HQ branch in Downtown Gainesville)
Join the Hippodrome for a reading and discussion of themes in the novel from multi-generational perspectives

Sept. 18 | The Reality of Fake News In Our Orwellian World: A Panel Discussion
7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. | Hippodrome Cinema
Join a panel of UF’s distinguished journalism faculty to discuss contemporary journalism as it relates to Orwell’s depiction of media manipulation.
Panel Participants include:
Mike Foley: Master Lecturer: Hugh Cunningham Professor in Journalism Excellence College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida
Kim Walsh-Childers: Professor College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida
Andrew Selepak: Director, MAMC Social Media College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida

ABOUT THE BOOK: “1984” garnered media interest after skyrocketing to the no.1 spot on Amazon’s bestsellers list in mid-January of this year. The following week, it clinched the top slot on USA Today’s bestsellers list, marking a rare occasion of sorts – only two other classic novels have ever been no.1 since the list began in 1993.

One City, One Story demonstrates the value of community, and we hope you will join us in celebrating ours.


The Hippodrome and UF School of Theatre + Dance present “1984”

1984 | A Southeast regional premeire

Discount Previews  | Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.
Opening Night | Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m.
$10 Tuesday | Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now at the Hippodrome Box Office: (352)375-4477 and thehipp.org.
The Hippodrome Theatre and the UF School of Theatre + Dance will partner to bring George Orwell’s dystopia to life this fall.
“1984,” written by George Orwell and adapted by Andrew White, makes its Southeast regional premiere on the Hippodrome Mainstage. The show runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 24, with previews on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31.
This theatrical adaption of Orwell’s literary masterpiece explores themes of erosion of privacy, destruction of identity and the role governments and media agencies have in shaping our lives. The story follows Winston, played by Hipp company member Niall McGinty, as he navigates a totalitarian world, where speech and thought are highly regulated.
The play unpacks the difference between truth and falsehood, a message that Hippodrome Artistic Director Lauren Warhol Caldwell said is relevant today.
“Orwell’s version of the future serves as a reminder to us: We need to be better,” she said. “This play dives straight into the dangers of restricting free speech and free press. When we reread ‘1984,’ we feel its message resonates with us more than ever. We’re excited to partner with UF to share this artistic journey with the Gainesville community.”

“The B-Side” comes to the Hipp Cinema


Elsa Dorfman took selfies before selfies were cool. She also used a Polaroid camera before hipsters were a thing.

This week, the Hipp Cinema will be screening “The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography.” This film, directed by Errol Morris, gives viewers an inside look into a lost art form: portraits. Using the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20×24 camera, Dorfman captured heartwarming memories.

For 35 years, Dorfman photographed people from all paths of life: families, rockstars, literary geniuses and even herself, sometimes in the nude. (Yup, you read that right.) With Polaroid’s decision to discontinue its 20×24 film in 2017, Dorfman’s work is more relevant than ever.

“Photographs will never again look like this,” she notes.

Dorfman takes Morris deep into her backyard archive, uncovering photographs she hasn’t seen in years. Though pictures fade, Dorfman’s passion for her art does not.

“You can almost sense Morris smiling off-camera as she pulls each exposure from her file drawers for reminiscing and newfound scrutiny – that’s how strong and warm his admiration is for Dorfman and the humble richness of her work.” – Robert Abele,  Los Angeles Times

Dorfman’s charming and funny personality will have you wishing she was your grandmother. And yeah, she’d probably bother you for pictures even more than your own grandma does.

Get your tickets to this feel-good documentary by calling (352)375-4477 or visiting thehipp.org/event/the-b-side-elsa-dorfmans-portrait-photography.



Congratulations, Freddy + Lynnea!

We are so happy to be a part of Freddy and Lynnea’s sweet love story. Here are Freddy’s words:

“It all started Fall 2013 when I started talking to this girl in Sigma Alpha Iota, UF’s only music sorority which only made sense as I was a brother of Phi Mu Alpha, UF’s only music fraternity. Her name is Lynnea Rhodes.

Jump to Jan. 1, 2014: I built up the courage to ask Lynnea to be my girlfriend. On Jan. 9, we went on one of our first of many dates together at the Hippodrome to see ‘Good People,’ a favorite of mine to this day. A reoccurring prop in the show was a homemade bunny rabbit created with a flower pot, styrofoam ball, pipe cleaners, a pair of googly eyes and other crafts. We enjoyed the show so much that just nine days later on Jan. 18, I gifted my new girlfriend her own homemade bunny rabbit. We named him Franklin after a puppy we had fallen in love with at the Gainesville Humane Society.

The surprises kept coming. On Valentine’s Day that year, as we were walking through Downtown Gainesville on our way to dinner at Harry’s, I had my band of fraternity brothers surprise her at the steps of the Hippodrome with an acapella version of Fred Paris’s “In the Still of the Night.” It was the first of many serenades Lynnea’s received. From “I Just Called to Say I Love You” during our long-distance days, to watching her sing the most beautiful renditions of the National Anthem at Gator softball games + gymnastics meets, music played an enormous role in our relationship.

And so did seeing shows at the Hipp. From laughing until we cried off on the Mainstage watching Avenue Q, to having our hearts ripped out in the cinema watching Oscar Nominated Short Films, the Hippodrome was the birthplace of so many great memories. It was only fitting we create what will be one of our greatest memories at a place that already holds so many.

On July 8, 2017, I serenaded Lynnea with Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” before going on stage and getting down on one knee. With the help of my brother Fernando; her parents, Sharon and Tom; her family friend Hal; the wonderful staff at the Hipp; and, OF COURSE, my homemade friend from the past, Franklin, SHE SAID YES!”


One week left: Gainesville says goodbye to the Plaids


The Plaids won’t be around for much longer! We’re sad to see these handsome crooners go, but we’re so excited for the last week of shows.

With less than one week left of shows, don’t miss your chance to see the summer musical that’s got all of Gainesville humming along.  This boy band’s heavenly harmonies bring back nostalgic memories of your favorite old-school classics. You’ll be tapping your feet long after the show is over.

And don’t just take our word for it; our Hipp patrons have been loving this sweet trip down memory lane! Here’s what they have to say:

“I was sorry to see it end. I’ve told everyone I know to go see it and…..I just might go again myself.” – Arlene Dorin Levine‎

“Amazing talent, the men in Forever Plaid are so good, and Sparky flirting with my 90 yr old Mom – Priceless! We are going again tomorrow.” – Tracey Tozzi

“It’s a definite MUST SEE! It’s a reflection of a kinder and more gentler America!” – Dereck Jones

It’s the final countdown! Whether you’ve seen it once, twice or haven’t seen it at all yet, come catch “Forever Plaid” in its final week for a bee-boppin’ good time! Call (352)375-4477 or visit thehipp.org for tickets.


The Hippodrome’s new class dives into Shakespeare


David Patrick Ford’s The Shakespeare Code acting class

Six courses | $149

Classes start Sept. 11, 2017,  6:15 p.m. ‑  7:30 p.m.

A seventh class on Oct. 24 is an optional end of term celebration.

We at the Hipp know Shakespeare isn’t always easy. Even the most talented of actors have trouble understanding the complexity of the language and the intentions and emotions in between the lines. The Shakespeare Code with David Patrick Ford at the Hippodrome Theatre is a course that allows the public to delve into the genius mind of this classic writer.

The goal of the class is to enlighten students to the brilliance of Shakespeare’s writing and reveal how his texts are master classes in acting technique.  Aspiring actors will learn new techniques in text analysis and will gain confidence in their acting through the knowledge that they are accurately interpreting and portraying their characters.  Fans of Shakespeare’s writing will come to see the plays through the eyes of the actor — the artist for which the plays were written — and their appreciation of the writing will deepen.

Students will break down some of Shakespeare’s most famous text by analyzing one line at a time, looking for clues such as deviations in the meter and use of imagery, identifying themes that run throughout the plays, finding the instructions for movement and stage pictures written into the text and more.

This course is intended for actors who wish to understand how to perform Shakespeare at a higher level, for students who want a better understanding of the reason why Shakespeare’s plays are so enduring, and for lovers of Shakespeare’s texts who want to see them from an actor’s perspective.  An acting background is not necessary.

About Hipp company member David Patrick Ford: This talented actor studied classical theater at the Conservatory of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. His professional Shakespeare performance experience includes the roles Macbeth in Macbeth, Iago in Othello, and Antonio in The Merchant of Venice.