The 2022-2023 Academic Season promises side-splitting comedy, critically acclaimed drama, and musical theatre fit for the whole family. Keep reading to find out more about the promised productions for next year!
Men On Boats
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men On Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. A cast of ten women portray all roles in this daredevil journey across the western frontier, taking the audience along for the ride. Men on Boats is a comedic look at a quest of true bravery by real, yet larger than life, characters.
“[MEN ON BOATS] is marvelously destabilizing both as history and theater. The stalwartness and selfishness of the adventurers—their cockiness and cluelessness—become biting satire when sent up by women.” —NY Magazine.
Dreamland (a collegiate premiere)
By Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller
Dreamland (or a musical riff on Shakespeare’s Midsummer set during the declassification of Area 51) is exactly what the title says it is, or is it? Who thought it would be a good idea to give a group of high school honor students free rein in a top-secret military base two days before it opens to the public? Will there be aliens? Maybe. A show choir? Definitely. An over-the-top, B-movie-style musical comedy with a score that blends contemporary musical theatre pop with the smooth sounds of the 1950s, Dreamland is the brainchild of MSU Theatre & Dance Alum Nathan Tysen, who, along with his writing partner Chris Miller, are award-winning songwriters of Tuck Everlasting on Broadway.
Last Days of Judas Iscariot
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Set in a time-bending, darkly comic world between heaven and hell, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot reexamines the plight and fate of the New Testament’s most infamous and unexplained sinner. Written by Pulitzer prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, this full-length drama places characters critical to the Christian faith in the courtroom, extracting the very essence of their character to process questions of morality.
“[THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT] shares many of the traits that have made Mr. Guirgis a playwright to reckon with in recent years: a fierce and questing mind that refuses to settle for glib answers, a gift for identifying with life’s losers and an unforced eloquence that finds the poetry in lowdown street talk…Mr. Guirgis is a zealous and empathic researcher, and he presents dilemmas of ancient Galilee in terms winningly accessible to the twenty-first century…” —NY Times.
By Lynn Nottage
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, Sweat tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, Sweat is a powerful and emotional look at identity, race, economy, and humanity.
“Sharp and threatening as a box cutter blade…ferociously engrossing…SWEAT never feels less than authentic—and crucial.” —Deadline.com.
Waiting for Lefty
By Clifford Odets
Waiting For Lefty is a series of varied episodes that blend into a powerful mosaic of the American working class. We begin in a hiring hall where a union leader (obviously in the pay of the bosses) is trying to convince a committee of workers (who are waiting for their leader, Lefty, to arrive) not to strike. Through flashback and vignette, we then visit a discouraged taxi driver in confrontation with his wife, who wants him to show some backbone and stand up to his employer; an employee promised a major promotion in exchange for spying on a fellow worker; a young cabbie and his would-be bride who lack the wherewithal to get married; and a senior doctor charged with dismissing a bright, promising intern. Waiting For Lefty premiered at a time where the actor and audience unified with common cause, one that still resonates with the contemporary theatre and themes of today.
“One left the theatre Sunday evening with two convictions,” Senber wrote. “The first was that one had witnessed an event of historical importance in what is academically referred to as the drama of the contemporary American scene. The other was that a dramatist to be reckoned with had been discovered.” He concluded, “It has not been announced just where and when Waiting for Lefty will be presented again, but you can rest assured that it will be … soon. A play like this does not die.” -Henry Seber
Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Book by Neil Simon
A Bob Fosse dance musical based on Federico Fellini’s screenplay for Nights of Cabiria, Sweet Charity stars Charity, who works at a dance club where she has seen only the dark side of life through bad relationships. One day she meets Oscar and believes her luck has changed. When things turn sour, Charity stays sweet and hopeful that someday her ideals will materialize.
Winner of the 1986 Tony for Best Revival, Sweet Charity combines the heartfelt comedy of Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), the musical styles of Cy Coleman & Dorothy Fields (Seesaw), and the iconic choreography of Bob Fosse (Cabaret) to create a hopeful musical for everyone to enjoy.
Spring Dance Concert 2023
A MSU Theatre & Dance Season Staple, The Spring Dance concert highlights the talent and hard work of student dancers as they perform pieces choreographed by Faculty and Students.