School of Theatre Arts Productions

The School of Theatre Arts proudly presents four mainstage productions in the Jerome Mirza Theatre at McPherson Hall each academic year. The Lab Series provides a more intimate audience experience, held in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre. Each of our productions are created, designed and performed by School of Theatre Arts students with support from faculty, staff and guest artists.

The 2021-22 season is a hybrid of streamed and in-person productions, with a planned return to live audiences in 2022.

Click the links under each show to purchase individual tickets to our fall shows. Spring season tickets will be available soon. For updates, bookmark this page or contact the Box Office at (309) 556-3232 for more information.

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The School of Theatre Arts 2021-22 Season:

Oct. 22-24 Life's a Dream

Dec. 3-5 Head Over Heels

Feb. 23-27 The Lightning Thief

April 6-10 Airline Highway

The Lab Series:

Nov. 12-14 Dog

Feb. 4-6 Heroes of the Fourth Turning

Life's a Dream postcard

October 22-24, 2021 | Life's a Dream

By Pedro Calderón 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 Calderón’s most famous work, first published in 1636. Life's 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's a Dream is considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of all time.

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

Streaming all day Oct. 22-24 on ShowTix4U.

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Dog postcard

November 12-14, 2021 | Dog

By Francesca Pazniokas

When Alice needs a place to crash after dropping out of college, her sister Penny welcomes her with open arms. There's just one catch: Penny's dog, Elmo—who may not be a dog at all. Dog is an experimental play about cycles of abuse and the passive violence that keeps abusers in power, presented as a workshop production by student director Josh Kaiping.

Dog is presented with special arrangement with United Talent Agency.

Streaming all day Nov. 12-14 on ShowTix4U.

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Head over Heels

December 3-5, 2021 | Head Over Heels

Songs by The Go-Go's; conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty; book adapted by James Magruder based on The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney

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 Q and 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, directed by Scott Susong, 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 on ShowTix4U.

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Lightning Thief banner

February 23-27, 2022 | 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.” Directed by Jean Kerr.

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

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

Heroes postcard

February 4-6, 2022 | Heroes of the Fourth Turning

By Will Arbery

It's nearing midnight in Wyoming, where four young conservatives have gathered at a backyard after-party. They've returned home to toast their mentor Gina, newly inducted as president of a tiny Catholic college. But as their reunion spirals into spiritual chaos and clashing generational politics, it becomes less a celebration than a vicious fight to be understood. On a chilly night in the middle of America, Will Arbery's haunting play offers grace and disarming clarity, speaking to the heart of a country at war with itself. Directed by Demitri Corbin.

Heroes of the Fourth Turning is presented by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

LIVE in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre February 4-6. 

Airline Highway banner

April 6-10, 2022 | 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. 

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