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
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.
November 12-14, 2021 | Dog (A Workshop Production)
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.
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.
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
The Lightning Thief is presented with special arrangement with Concord Theatricals.
LIVE in the Jerome Mirza Theatre Feb. 23-27.
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
LIVE in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre February 4-6.
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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