University Theatre kicks off with story inspired by civil rights movement

contact: Emily Duguay
| WMU News
Photo of WMU faculty member and students in Waiting to be Invited.

University Theatre's Waiting to be Invited" runs Sept. 22-Oct. 8.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University Theatre dives into a new season of performances with a timely story by S.M. Shepard-Massat inspired by a small but significant moment in civil rights history. "Waiting to be Invited" will open the 2017-18 season Friday, Sept. 22, and play through Sunday, Oct. 8, in the York Arena Theatre.


All performances will take place in the York Arena Theatre located inside the Gilmore Theatre Complex on WMU's Main Campus.

  • Friday, Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 1, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 8, 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for seniors and WMU employees, $10 for students and $6 for WMU students. They are available online at, by phone at (269) 387-6222, or by visiting the University Theatre Box Office in the main lobby of the Gilmore Theatre Complex between noon and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Waiting to be Invited

It's the summer of 1964 in Atlanta, and four middle-aged black women are traveling by city bus to a "whites only" establishment inside a downtown department store. Their purpose is to test the newly acquired civil rights handed down to them by the Supreme Court outlawing segregation in eating establishments. This play tells the story of these brave women as they prepare for their date with destiny at a forbidden lunch counter. They are unnatural protestors challenging color barriers; they are a few of the many ordinary people who did their small part to bring about the U.S. civil rights movement.

The production will feature faculty member Dwandra Lampkin as the defiantly sassy Miss Odessa. Lampkin will work as an ensemble member with WMU theatre students, providing these young actors with a unique opportunity to work alongside a professional actress with career experience. Theatre faculty often design and direct productions, but it is a rare treat for students and patrons to see them on the Gilmore Theatre Complex stages.


Lampkin is an associate professor of theatre and the director of multicultural theatre at WMU. She earned her master's degree in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory. Before joining the world of academia, she lived in New York City, where she worked professionally in stage, television and film. She has performed regionally at the Tony Award-winning Denver Center Theatre; the Huntington Theatre in Boston; the National Black Theatre in New York City; the Phoenix Theatre and Indiana Repertory Theater in Indianapolis; the Human Race Theatre in Dayton; and the Farmer's Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo. Some of her theatre credits include Mrs. Muller in "Doubt," Aunt Ester in "Gem of the Ocean," Matron Mama Morton in "Chicago," Calpurnia in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Elizabeth in "In the Next Room" and Lena/Francine in "Clybourne Park." Her television credits include "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Third Watch," and the critically acclaimed series "Wonderland." She has recently written and performed her solo show, "The Conviction of Lady Lorraine."

For more information about the concert, visit or call (269) 387-3227.

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