Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA) debuts its 2013–2014 mainstage theatre season on September 27 in the Newhart Family Theatre with Lost in Yonkers directed by Dr. Mark E. Lococo.

Set during WWII, two brothers are left in the care of their strict, formidable grandmother and loving, eccentric aunt in this Tony, Drama Desk, and Pulitzer-Prize winning play by America’s master of laughter and tears, Neil Simon. The boys learn lessons of duty, devotion, trust, and forgiveness in this coming-of-age tale.

“We hope the play will strike a chord with audiences because of what it says about family, about responsibility, and about growing up,” said Lococo.

Playing the role of the formidable “Grandma Kurnitz,” Dr. Sarah Gabel, Loyola theatre professor and chairperson of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, is experiencing a rarity in this production by acting alongside students.

“I feel like it’s a privilege,” said Gabel. “It’s an opportunity to interact and intersect with students in a way I don’t normally get to.” Gabel, who has directed numerous productions at Loyola, is being directed by Lococo, a long-time colleague and friend. Gabel said she respects the roles in every way. “There are a few times I’ve probably felt like there’s an instinctual thing that comes as a director that I need to just put aside, but that’s what I’m doing,” said Gabel. “It’s nice to just be an actor.”

The Newhart Family Theatre is one of the newest, state-of-the-art fine arts spaces within the newly renovated Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. The theatre allows students to experiment with the latest advancements in audio, video, and lighting technologies available. It has been named in honor of Loyola alumnus and comedian Bob Newhart, who graduated from Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business in 1952. All three of Newhart’s sisters attended Mundelein College as well.

Lost in Yonkers opens Friday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m., and runs through Sunday, October 6. Thursday through Saturday evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. A preview night will be held Thursday, September 26, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 – $20, with discounts available for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and senior citizens. Preview tickets are available for $5 at the door.

The Newhart Family Theatre is located on the second floor of the Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts at 1020 W. Sheridan Road on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Tickets can be purchased online at LUC.tix.com. Contact the box office at BOXOFFICE@luc.edu or 773.508.8400 with questions or concerns, or visit blogs.LUC.edu/ArtsAlive for more information.