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Ashley Landis

Varied voices

Davis to return to UNT for panel talk on abortion drama

The theater department at the University of North Texas opens its season next month with a play about abortion.

Melissa’s Choice is a drama about a 28-year-old attorney who has to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. The play will run Oct. 6-16 in the Studio Theatre at the Radio, TV, Film and Performing Arts Building.

The dance and drama department joined other UNT programs and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to put discussion panels together for the first three performances. Among the panel guests are former Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, who was labeled “abortion Barbie” by anti-abortion activists after she filibustered to block Senate Bill 5 in 2013 — a measure that included more restrictive regulations to abortion in Texas.

Davis will join Amy Murrell, a professor of psychology; Keri Caruthers, a UNT alumna and local activist; and Michele Baker, who writes for the North Texas Catholic, in the first panel following the performance Oct. 6.

Davis visited the campus in 2014 during her gubernatorial campaign.

Terri Burke, executive director of ACLU of Texas, joins Rafael Major, a senior lecturer in the UNT Honors College; Abir Arabi, a UNT economics major; and Jennifer Lanter, vice president of communications at Gladney Adoption Service, for the panel following the Oct. 7 performance.

The Rev. Daniel Kanter, senior minister of First Unitarian Church of Dallas and adviser to Planned Parenthood, joins Deborah Needleman Armintor, a professor of English, sexuality studies and Jewish studies, and Amanda Kallas, president of Eagles for Life, in speaking after the Oct. 8. performance.

Director Andrew Harris will moderate the panel discussions, and New York-based playwright Steven Somkin will attend the first performance.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15, and 2 p.m. Oct. 9 and 16. The performing arts building is located at 1179 Union Circle. Tickets cost $10 for the general public and $7.50 for students, UNT faculty/staff and seniors. For tickets, visit http://danceandtheatre.unt.edu .

— Staff report