MSU Department of Theatre Announces 2022-2023 Season

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre announces its 2022-2023 season, which focuses on the exploration and celebration of community. 

“These scripts are intended to provoke discussion and drive our students and audiences to challenge our intellectual and emotional responses to the social conditions in which we live and champion traditions that bind us as neighbors and make us stronger together,” said Stephen Di Benedetto, MSU Department of Theatre Chair.  

Theatre Poster
The 2022-2023 season will focus on the exploration and celebration of community.

Kicking off the season in September and in its ninth year is the 2022 ĭmáGen staged concert, which is a collaboration with the Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity supported by MSU Federal Credit Union and the MSU Department of Theatre. This year’s ĭmáGen production, In Emily’s Words, is a new musical that is still in development and will feature Broadway talent on the same stage as MSU Musical Theatre students and local high school actors.  

Written and composed by Jessy Tomsko, In Emily’s Words tells the story of English novelist Emily Brontë as she writes her magnum opus Wuthering Heights. This new musical explores Brontë’s journey as a female writer in the 1840s, battling illness and adversity, while crafting the sweeping melodrama that has left a legacy nearly 200 years after her death. Showtimes are Friday, September 23, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, at 2 p.m. in the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre.  

“These scripts are intended to provoke discussion and drive our students and audiences to challenge our intellectual and emotional responses to the social conditions in which we live and champion traditions that bind us as neighbors and make us stronger together.”

Stephen Di Benedetto, Department of Theatre Chair

October brings Corktown, or Through the Valley of Dry Bones by Jeff Augustin in which Jackee, a fabulous 14-year-old boy, will take audiences on a tour of one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods between 2007 and 2034. From the neighborhood’s urban blight to the gentrified renaissance, Corktown chronicles the life cycle of a city and the lives of its residents. When the music is turned down and the graffiti is painted over, there is a beating heart in the history of this place that cannot be ceased. The production will be guest directed by Chamara Kwakye. Performance dates are October 14-16 and 18-23 at the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre. 

The cast in Monsieur D'eon is a Woman.
Last year’s production of Monsieur D’eon is a Woman.

In November, For the Love Of (or, the roller derby play), written by Gina Femia and directed by Alexis Black, will deliver some full-contact fun where the main character, Joy, can’t believe it when she is invited to join the Brooklyn Scallywags, along with the league’s star-player Lizzie Lighting. When bout bruises and scars transcend from the physical to emotional, Joy and her long-term partner Michelle discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to follow their hearts. Performance dates are November 11-20 in the Auditorium’s Arena Theatre.  

In December, MSU Unscripted, a light-hearted evening of comedy directed by Sarah Hendrickson, will take over Studio 60 just before MSU students slide into winter break. Using the tools of improvisation, first-year Theatre students will learn collaboration and spontaneous creation while building a life-long community that will have each other’s backs, on stage and off. Every performance will be completely different, with a mix of classic and new improv games. Performance dates are December 1-4. 

February brings Charlotte’s Web, adapted by Joseph Robinette and based on E.B. White’s loving story of a pig named Wilbur and a little gray spider named Charlotte. This treasured tale, directed by Ann Folino White, explores bravery, selfless love, and the true meaning of friendship. Wilbur has a problem: how to avoid winding up as pork chops! Charlotte weaves a solution that not only makes Wilbur a prize pig but ensures his place on the farm forever. Performance dates are February 17-19 and 21-26 in the Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre.  

Last year’s production of Head Over Heels.

In March, Sweat, written by Lynn Nottage and the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, will tell the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on the factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. Directed by Ryan Welsh, performance dates are March 17-19 and 21-26 in the Auditorium’s Studio 60 Theatre.  

Closing out the mainstage season is the musical Bright Star, written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Inspired by a true story and featuring a Tony®-nominated score, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past, and what she finds has the power to transform both their lives. Directed and choreographed by Brad Willcuts with Music Direction by Dave Wendelberger, performance dates are April 14-16 and 18-23 in the Auditorium’s Pasant Theatre.  

For a complete description of each show and a schedule of all events, visit the Department of Theatre Ticketing Page.  

2022-2023 Season: 

In Emily’s Words 
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jessy Tomsko 
September 23 & 25, 2022 
Pasant Theatre 

Corktown, Or Through the Valley of Dry Bones 
By Jeff Augustin 
October 14-16 and 18-23, 2022 
Pasant Theatre

For The Love Of (or, the roller derby play)  
By Gina Femia November 11-20, 2022
Arena Theatre

MSU Unscripted 
December 1-4, 2022 
Studio 60 

Charlotte’s Web 
Adapted by Joseph Robinette 
February 17-19 and 21-26, 2023 
Fairchild Theatre 

By Lynn Nottage 
March 17-19 and 21-26, 2023 
Studio 60 Theatre 

Bright Star 
Inspired by a True Story 
Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin 
Music, Book & Story by Edie Brickell 
April 14-16 and 18-23, 2023 
Pasant Theatre