Our 2021-2022 Season

The School of Theatre Arts Mainstage Production Season:

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October 22-24 | Life is a Dream

By Pedro Calderon de la Barca, adapted by Adrian Mitchell and John Barton

"… a masterpiece about time, fate, love, honor, death and the illusory nature of existence." (Michael Billington, The Guardian

Professor Thomas Quinn directs an English translation of Calerón’s most famous work, first published in 1636. Life is a Dream tells the story of a fictional prince, Segismundo, who is imprisoned by his father based on a prophesy that says Segismundo will terrorize the kingdom and cause the King’s death. Granting his son a brief period of freedom, King Basilio finds the premonition to be a self-fulfilling prophesy, leading, once again, to Segismundo’s imprisonment. Navigating themes of agency and free will, familial loyalty and perceptions of reality, Life is a Dream is considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of all time.

Life is a Dream is presented with special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing.

Streaming all day Oct. 22-24, 2021 via Showtix4u.

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December 3-5 | Head Over Heels

Music and lyrics by The Go-Gos, book by Jeff Whitty and James Magruder

Head Over Heels is a bold new jukebox musical based on The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia written by Sir Philip Sidney in the 16th century and reimagined by the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Qand Spring Awakening. This laugh-out-loud love story originated at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015 and played on Broadway from 2018-19 at the Hudson Theatre. This James Magruder adaptation follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction, only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within their hearts. The musical’s score is created from the iconic 1980s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s catalogue, including the hit songs “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.” Critics called it a “groundbreaking, hilarious, exuberant celebration of love.”

Head Over Heels is presented with special arrangement with Broadway Licensing.

Streaming all day Dec. 3-5, 2021 via Showtix4u.

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February 23-27 | The Lightning Thief

Book by Joe Tracz, music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki

With music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the bestselling Disney-Hyperion 2005 novel by Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical follows Percy Jackson, a teenager who newly discovers that he is a demigod and goes on an epic quest to find Zeus' missing lightning bolt and prevent a war between the Greek gods. Critics have said the rock musical is a "thoroughly endearing and family-friendly musical" with "one foot in Harry Potter and another in Dear Evan Hansen." The Lightning Thief initially played Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre by Theatreworks USA in 2014 as a one-hour musical, and went on to a national tour, a subsequent return to Off-Broadway and finally played Broadway from 2019-20 at the Longacre Theatre. Popular songs include: “Good Kid,” “My Grand Plan” and “Bring on the Monsters.”

The Lightning Thief is presented with special arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

LIVE in the Jerome Mirza Theatre Feb. 23-27. 

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April 6-10 | Airline Highway

By Lisa D'Amour

Dr. Michelle Gibbs makes her IWU directorial debut with Airline Highway, Lisa D’Amour’s 2014 tour de force set in the parking lot of The Hummingbird Motel, outside New Orleans. Motel residents gather for the funeral of Miss Ruby, a burlesque icon and mother hen to the community. Ruby is the guest of honor—insisting she attend the celebration of her life. As the bons temps roulée, the neighbors’ stories unfold. Airline Highway first premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago and ran on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, closing on June 7, 2015. It was nominated for four Tony Awards three Drama Desk Awards, winning Best Featured Actor in a Play for K. Todd Freeman.

Airline Highway is presented with special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service. 

LIVE in the Jerome Mirza Theatre April 6-10. 

In the Lab...

This season, we will produce two shows in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre, streaming Nov. 12-14 and LIVE in the Lab Feb. 4-6. More details to come!