Wright State’s 2022-23 season embraces mystery, drama, musical comedy

Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, died Oct. 12, 1998, having been brutally beaten in an anti-gay hate crime. His story fuels acclaimed drama “The Laramie Project,” which will be presented Feb. 17-26, 2023 at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

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Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, died Oct. 12, 1998, having been brutally beaten in an anti-gay hate crime. His story fuels acclaimed drama “The Laramie Project,” which will be presented Feb. 17-26, 2023 at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED

Wright State University’s 2022-2023 season offers a variety of classic and contemporary dramas as well as lighthearted musicals and exciting dance.

The Festival Playhouse lineup includes Agatha Christie’s legendary murder mystery “The Mousetrap,” Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner’s musical “Sister Act,” Tom Stoppard’s sophisticatedly witty “Arcadia,” and Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s landmark musical “On the Town.” The downstairs Herbst Theatre will house intimate productions of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass musical “Bright Star” and Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project’s relevant, timely drama “The Laramie Project.”

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2022 production of "Sweet Charity."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Cast members of Wright State University's 2022 production of "Sweet Charity."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2022 production of "Sweet Charity."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Organizers view the season as properly balancing important educational opportunities for the students and entertaining options for the audience.

“We want to serve our students in ways that will help them grow as early career professionals,” said Joe Deer, artistic director. “Over the span of four years, we want our students to experience a range of different experiences and styles. We want them to grow and learn with different kinds of material. When our students graduate, we want them to be ready to meet the profession where it is today and not where it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. We also want to provide our audiences with opportunities to see young, emerging talent in the highest quality productions we can put together from the performances to the design.”

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The season also marks the first for Wright State Theatre as part of the university’s newly formed School of Fine and Performing Arts. Deer anticipates more collaboration within the various programs on shared projects. For example, “On the Town” will feature a full onstage orchestra, music directed by F. Wade Russo, due to the inclusion of students from the music program.

“We are creating group experiences for all artists,” said Deer. “We will provide more experiences in the fine and performing arts than any other single organization in the Miami Valley. Between the theater productions, dance concerts and music events, there will be something going on practically every night of the year during the school year. The School of Fine and Performing Arts consists of an exceptional group of teachers, teaching artists and students. I think bringing everybody together is only going to create opportunities.”

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2015 production of "Chicago."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Cast members of Wright State University's 2015 production of "Chicago."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2015 production of "Chicago."

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

WRIGHT STATE’S 2022-2023 SEASON

THE MOUSETRAP

Sept. 23-Oct. 2, 2022

The longest-running play in the history of modern theatre appears at WSU for the first time. Guest director Jason Podplesky stages this classic whodunit about apparent strangers trapped in an English country house during a blizzard. Dick Block, associate head of drama at Carnegie Mellon University, will notably provide scenic design.

SISTER ACT

Nov. 4-20, 2022

Directed and choreographed by Greg Hellems, head of musical theatre at WSU, this musical is based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film of the same name. Set in the 1970s, the story concerns a disco diva who takes refuge in a convent.

BRIGHT STAR

Nov. 18-Dec. 4, 2022

The local collegiate premiere of this heartfelt, tuneful story of love and redemption set in 1920s and 1940s North Carolina will be directed and choreographed by guest artist Leslie Goddard Baum.

ARCADIA

Feb. 3-12, 2023

Marya Spring Cordes, associate chair of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at WSU, directs Stoppard’s acclaimed dramedy that leaps between the past (1809) and the present in an intellectual examination of science, relationships and choices.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Feb. 17-26, 2023

This production commemorates the 25th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student. The production will be directed by WSU associate professor Josh Aaron McCabe and is produced in collaboration with Wright State’s Office of LGBTQA Affairs.

ON THE TOWN

March 17-April 2, 2023

This musical comedy classic about three World War II-era sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York City will be presented in collaboration with WSU’s partners in the School of Fine and Performing Arts Music programs.

WRIGHT STATE DANCE IN CONCERT

April 20-23, 2023

Faculty and guest choreographers present ballet, jazz and modern dance routines. The concert includes guest performances by WSU’s partner companies, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC2) and Dayton Ballet II.

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Season tickets will go on sale Tuesday, July 5 at www.wright.edu/theatre or by calling box office manager David Emery at 937-775-2500.

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2021 production of "Mamma Mia!"

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Cast members of Wright State University's 2021 production of "Mamma Mia!"

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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Cast members of Wright State University's 2021 production of "Mamma Mia!"

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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