Each year, the department presents an extensive season of theatrical performances featuring students of many majors.

Students participate in productions that embrace a wide range of theatrical traditions, including recent contemporary works, classical dramas, Broadway musicals, children’s plays, liturgical presentations, improvisational and interactive theatre pieces, and dance ensemble concerts.

In addition, a variety of showcase performances and special projects — such as student one-acts, staged readings, and laboratory productions — are presented throughout the year, providing numerous acting, directing, design, and management opportunities as well as the ability to receive academic credit toward graduation for participation in both mainstage and second stage experiences.

Current Season

Director: George Potter
Audition Dates: August 24 and 25, 2016

Location: University Theatre

Performances: Oct. 7 and 14 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 2 p.m.

About the Performance
Anne Washburn’s imaginative dark comedy propels us forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling into its future. After the collapse of civilization, a group of survivors share a campfire and begin to piece together the plot of “The Simpsons” episode “Cape Feare” entirely from memory. 7 years later, this and other snippets of pop culture (sitcom plots, commercials, jingles, and pop songs) have become the live entertainment of a post-apocalyptic society, sincerely trying to hold onto its past. 75 years later, these are the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created. A paean to live theater, and the resilience of Bart Simpson through the ages, Mr. Burns is an animated exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.

Director: R. Andrew White

Musical Director: Valerie Webdell
Audition Dates: Aug. 24 and 25, 2016

Location: Studio Theatre

Performances: Nov. 4 and 11 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 2 p.m.

About the Performance:
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) is a musical about musicals! In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. The basic plot: June is an ingénue who can’t pay the rent and is threatened by her evil landlord. Will the handsome leading man come to the rescue? The variations are: a Rodgers & Hammerstein version, set in Kansas in August, complete with a dream ballet; a Sondheim version, featuring the landlord as a tortured artistic genius who slashes the throats of his tenants in revenge for not appreciating his work; a Jerry Herman version, as a splashy star vehicle; an Andrew Lloyd Webber version, a rock musical with themes borrowed from Puccini; and a Kander & Ebb version, set in a speakeasy in Chicago. This comic valentine to musical theatre was the longest running show in the York Theatre Company’s 35-year history before moving to Off-Broadway.

Audition Dates: Oct. 18, 2016

Performances: Dec. 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.

About the Performance:
One-act plays, directed by senior theatre majors as part of their capstone coursework for the theatre department. Titles to be determined.

Production: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Performances: Feb. 16, 17 and 18, 2017

Location: University Theatre

About the Performance: 
Actors from the London Stage will be in residence at Valparaiso University from February 13-19, 2017.

Directors: Ann Kessler and Salena Elish
Audition Date: Aug. 30 and 31, 2016

Performances: Feb. 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 11 and 12 at 2 p.m.

Location: University Theatre

About the Performance: The Dance Ensemble takes the stage in the month of February, bringing student and faculty choreographed dance to the Valparaiso community.

Director: R. Andrew White
Audition Dates: Jan. 17 and 18, 2017

Location: University Theatre

Performances: April 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. and April 8 and 9 at 2 p.m.

About the Performance:
One of Euripides’ most poetically beautiful as well as thematically difficult plays, The Bacchae has been alternately interpreted as an approval of the Dionysian cult of nature worship and as a condemnation of religious excess.  More likely it is Euripides’ argument for moderation, rejecting the lures of pure reason as well as pure sensuality.

 

Director: Student-directed production
Audition Dates: Jan. 17 and 18, 2017

Location: Studio Theatre

Performances: April 28 at 8 p.m. and April 29 and 30 at 2 p.m.

About the Performance:
Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after twenty-two years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate’s career, as a public-school English teacher, is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park—or that has found him—bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between man and dog. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives. A modern romantic comedy about a marriage and a dog.

 

Past Performances

Typically, four to five main-stage and a variety of second-stage productions are presented annually in two separate performance spaces. The main-stage productions are directed and designed by the theatre faculty, while second-stage shows are most often produced by selected students and guest artists.

Past main stage performances have included such titles as Godspell, Mosque Alert, The Eyre Affair, God of Carnage, The School for Lies, An Evening of Short Plays by Beckett, Dido and Aeneas, Eurydice, Arcadia, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, Marriage, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, How I Learned to Drive, The House of Bernarda Alba, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Circle Mirror Transformation, Hansel and Gretel, The Arabian Nights, Floyd Collins, The Universal Wolf, Tartuffe, Almost Maine, Twelfth Night, Cabaret, and Fuddy Meers.

See photographs and video footage from recent productions »

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COMMUNITY
"One thing that drew me to Valpo was the variety of shows that the department performs. In just one season we did a translation of a Russian show; Sweeney Todd, which is one of the best musicals ever written; Macbeth, which is Shakespeare and difficult; and Arcadia, considered one of the best-written plays of the 20th century. We’re given challenges, that’s for sure."