On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration announced the shows they will be producing during the 2023-2024 academic year.
Students gathered in the auditorium, where a video made by Peter Sham announcing the season was shown.
From Sep. 28 through Oct. 7, the department will be putting on a production of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” to be directed by Lisa Quoresimo. The comedy, which was the inspiration for the 2006 film “She’s the Man,” follows a woman named Viola who disguises herself as a man named Cesario.
“It’s a comedy about mistaken identity and gender flipping, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Quoresimo.
Following “Twelfth Night” will be the rock musical “Ride the Cyclone.” It will run from Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 and does not currently have a director. “Ride the Cyclone” follows members of a high school choir after tragedy strikes at an amusement park and the teens must make their cases in order to stay alive.
Spring semester will open with the LGBTQ+ musical “The Prom,” which will run from Feb. 9 through Feb. 17. It will be directed by Peter Sham and will feature choreography by Kirsten Sham. The musical explores the fallout from a high school in Indiana not allowing a lesbian student to attend prom with her girlfriend.
After “The Prom,” two shows will be running in rep with one another from April 3 to April 13. “Appropriate,” directed by Darius Omar Williams, explores an estranged family brought together by the death of their father. “Roe,” directed by Scott Knowles, is a play about the history of Roe v. Wade.
“It follows the story of the original lawyer and Jane Roe, who was the plaintiff in the case,” said Knowles.
Each semester will feature a dance concert, with the faculty choreographing the one in the fall and students choreographing the one in the Spring.
The process of choosing a season is long and starts with faculty members proposing as many as thirty different shows before deciding which ones to perform based on objectives they must meet.
“Most of our population in the theatre department is, in fact, women,” said Knowles. “We try to make sure that we have demographically enough roles so that it all balances out to be equal opportunity across the board.”
Another factor in deciding which shows to choose is whether or not they provide a new opportunity for students, as is the case for “Ride the Cyclone.”
“We haven’t done a rock musical in a couple of years, so I thought that would be a lot of fun,” said Quoresimo.
Now that the season has been announced, students will begin preparing for auditions as they eagerly await the announcement of Second Studio’s season of student-run shows.
Story by: Tessa Cheshire
Photos by Bria Hansen