2015-16 Academic year

Roxie Hart must pay for murdering an unfaithful lover. Even on death row, she finds there’s fame, fortune and acquittal to be won—if she can manage a strange partnership with another “merry murderess,” Velma Kelly. This 1975 musical won six Tony Awards and an Oscar for best picture.

Every performance is different in its combination of songs and stories.
(To allow students to prepare for Finals' Week, the Sunday, May 8, 2016 - 7:30 p.m. performance has been cancelled.)

“I’d bet the farm that no family has ever been as unhappy in as many ways—and to such sensationally entertaining effect—as the Westons ... an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown.” — The New York Times

This instant classic won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

The truth hurts. When Anne Meacham witnesses her cousin’s horrific death, the truth is so painful that her family will do anything to stop her from telling it. They’ll bribe, incarcerate—even lobotomize—to hide what needs hiding.

Millie Dillmount has a plan. 1) Move to New York City. 2) Become a rich man’s secretary. 3) Become that rich man’s wife.

But the rich man won’t cooperate. And the man she falls for appears penniless. What’s a thoroughly modern gal to do?

Peter Austin’s play is headed for the stage. It will either stand or fall. But the bigger question might just be whether Austin will still be standing after a raucous opening night party. See the inside of show business and meet its erratic practitioners in this roaring comedy.

NWU Theatre’s Christmas tradition continues in 2015 with miserly Scrooge, a trio of frightening and enlightening ghosts and a whole lot of good cheer.

Take a new look at Othello from the perspective of the classic’s female characters. What if Desdemona weren’t a virtuous woman? Why did Emilia betray her? The play’s action has grave repercussions for Cassio and Iago and the Moor. But what impact do these same events have on the women in the play?

To obtain special ticket rates for Othello and Desdemona, see the Shakespeare packages.

Love, race, jealousy and betrayal intertwine in Shakespeare’s powerful tragedy.

To obtain special ticket rates for Othello and Desdemona, see the Shakespeare packages.

This musical retelling of Shakespeare’s greatest comedy captures Twelfth Night’s rowdiness and deeply felt emotions of loss and unrequited love.

William Shakespeare has died. His widow, Anne Hathaway, is left with complicated memories and a revealing document. Signed by her late husband, the paper admits that Anne is the true author of his plays. A comedy of flashbacks reveals a marriage every bit as conflicted as his (or her) characters.

This musical is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (showing with Kiss Me Kate on alternate days). Combine Shakespeare with Cole Porter’s music and you get this play within a play where life onstage is complicated by what’s happening off it.

To obtain special ticket rates for Taming of the Shrew and Kiss Me, Kate, see the Shakespeare packages.

The beautiful Bianca cannot be courted before her older sister, Katherina, is married. So Bianca’s suitors convince Petruchio to marry “the shrew.” Then it’s game on to win Bianca’s hand. Manipulations of every stripe follow, until the sun is the moon and even the perfect fit isn’t fit enough.

This show pairs with Kiss Me Kate, a musical inspired by The Taming of the Shrew and running on alternate days.

2014-15 Academic year

Robbie Hart’s job is to make other people’s wedding receptions a dream come true. But his wedding was a nightmare. Maybe the lovely Julia could help him out of his despair—if she wasn’t engaged to some Wall Street type.

Karsten Bernick’s entire life is a lie he’ll do just about anything to protect. Johan Tonnesen knows the truth. And when he threatens to set the record straight, Bernick wishes he could set his troubles off to sea, never to return. Maybe he can ...

Even the hottest day of summer in New York City’s Washington Heights can’t hide all that’s cool about this musical with a Latin beat. It’s a touching story about home, family, poverty, education and achieving your dreams.

Every performance is different in its combination of songs and stories.

It takes money to marry money—so Bassanio believes as he sets out to woo the wealthy Portia. Antonio borrows the money his friend needs to reach Portia and win her heart. Antonio may believe it’s Portia’s heart that’s at stake, but when the loan goes bad, he realizes it’s flesh of another sort.

This Dickens classic and Nebraska Wesleyan University tradition returns with all its holiday magic.

Disguises, duplicitous motives and on-again off-again engagements abound in this 18th century Italian comedy. (Don’t worry. The audience is never as lost as the characters.) Chaos rules when the comically ravenous Truffaldino schemes to double his wages and his meals by secretly serving two masters.

Chekov’s themes abound in this Tony Award-winning Broadway comedy where sibling rivalry, insecurity and exhibitionism throw hilarious sparks. You don’t need to be schooled in Russian classics to get a kick out of this play.

This 1949 Broadway musical remains an ocean-sized hit. Sailors and Navy nurses in the South Pacific find themselves fighting their own prejudices in unconventional love affairs.

Before the explosion that was Jonathan Larson’s musical, “Rent”, there was “Tick, Tick … Boom!” The musical opens with a ticking sound that the central character—Jon, an aspiring composer—explains to the audience this way. “The sound you are hearing is not a technical problem. It is not a musical cue. It is not a joke. It is the sound of one man’s mounting anxiety. I am that man.”

The Greeks’ devastation of Troy may be complete, but the battle is just beginning for the Trojan women. On the beach below their ravaged homes, the widows of Troy await their fate as slaves and concubines. For Queen Hecuba and her daughter and daughter-in-law, the fall promises to be far.

NWU Theatre presents a world premiere musical comedy from the writer of “Broadway Jukebox”. Set by the sea in Staten Island, three young New York sisters get their first taste of life. Special funding for this production provided by the Pace Woods Foundation.

2013-14 Academic year

This new musical for mature audiences is “lovingly ripped off” from the motion picture, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Can you say, “Trojan rabbit”?

The Big Apple meets the Midwest in this Broadway comedy about families and felonies. For mature audiences.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning romantic comedy features a zany, lovable family of xylophone players, ballerina dancers, firework inventors and various other hobby collectors. They live in delightfully comic eccentricity until Alice brings home her straight-laced Wall Street boyfriend.

Set sail for England on the S.S. American with all its lovers, stowaways, mobsters, ministers and misfits in this beloved Cole Porter musical. Special funding from the Pace Woods Foundation.

Antigone defies governmental authority by choosing, against the orders of Creon, to bury her deceased brother’s body in this tragedy inspired both by Greek mythology and the Nazi occupation of France.

Every performance is different in its combination of songs and stories.

This Dickens classic and Nebraska Wesleyan University Christmas tradition is back with a whole new look and more exciting holiday magic.

Join “Ernest” and his friends as they discover the joy of love, wit and tea.

NWU’s production (in partnership with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre) of this comedy horror rock musical features an intricate flesheating plant. “Feed me, Seymour!”

Woody Allen’s first professionally produced play investigates the comic misadventures of three tourists from New Jersey who are trapped in an American embassy behind the Iron Curtain in the 1960s.

Romp through the forest with fairies, lovers and some of Shakespeare’s most comic characters.

Experience the theatrical wonder of this global sensation in NWU Theatre’s climactic production of the year.

2012-13 Academic year

Broadway dancers audition for spots on a chorus line in this 1975 musical. See the personalities of the performers and choreographer as they describe the shape of their lives as dancers. This performance is eligible for free ticket(s) to a non-musical production. Select a performance and date below to receive your free tickets.

Tito Merelli is the famous opera tenor, “Il Stupendo.” Before his next performance, his wife discovers an autograph-seeker in his hotel room, takes her for a secret lover and leaves him. A stupefied Il Stupendo accidentally overdoses on tranquilizers. But the show must go on, so an assistant disguises himself as Merelli. It works well, until Merelli awakes and heads for the stage…

This hilarious, semi-autobiographical play draws the portrait of a Jewish-American family as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old boy.

Tom's father abandoned the family long ago, leaving him with the dull responsibility of supporting his mother and sister. His mother wants nothing more than to find a suitable suitor for her daughter, an awkward and disabled young woman who dotes over her collection of tiny glass animals. When Tom brings a friend home from work, mother and sister jump to woo him. But Jim is engaged, and Tom's mother feels unforgivably betrayed.

Frederic becomes free from his apprenticeship with the Pirates of Penzance on his 21st birthday. He promptly falls in love with the major-general’s daughter, and the future looks bright. That is, until he discovers his birthday is actually February 29. Frederic won’t gain his freedom until he truly turns 21—in 63 years. Will his love wait?

Count Dracula is determined to transplant his particular brand of evil from Transylvania to England. It falls to a small group of determined souls—led by Dr. Abraham van Helsing—to kill the undead count.

Every performance is different in its combination of songs and stories.

America’s longest running touring company, National Players, will make a stop at Nebraska Wesleyan University to perform “Animal Farm.”

The chilling and provocative fable follows the animals of Manor Farm where a revolution has broke out. The animals have claimed their independence, humans have been banished, and the new “Animal Farm” will be a beautiful egalitarian paradise. They can build their new utopia, but can they resist the corruption that led to the human’s downfall?

It’s 1929. Two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television.” Each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unleash the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul or the Idaho farm boy?

This collection of Christmas musical numbers, stories and skits will get you in the holiday spirit. (10 p.m. performances are for mature audiences)

Natives of Inishmaan are excited to learn of a Hollywood film crew’s arrival in neighboring Inishmore to make a documentary about life on Ireland’s Aran Islands. “Cripple” Billy Claven, eager to escape the gossip, poverty and boredom of Inishmaan, vies for a part in the film. To everyone’s surprise, the orphan and outcast gets his chance.

Sorority girl Elle Woods heads to Harvard Law to prove that staying true to yourself never goes out of style.

The Tempest is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place, using illusion and skillful manipulation. The eponymous tempest brings to the island Prospero's usurping brother Antonio and the complicit Alonso, King of Naples. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's low nature, the redemption of Alonso, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.

When an aging warrior king embarks upon his next foreign battle, he leaves behind his beautiful young queen to rule an unfamiliar kingdom and care for her handsome stepson. His departure unveils a series of curses, forbidden desires, secrets, temptations, and rumors in this contemporary retelling of an ancient Greek tragedy. (Recommended for mature audiences.)

The dead in an Illinois graveyard relay details from their lives. There’s a thread of reality in their stories, which tie to former residents of Lewistown and Petersburg, Ill.

Anna, nicknamed “Mother Courage,” is determined to profit from the Thirty Years’ War as she works in the Swedish Army. Those profits come at a dire price. Mother Courage loses her three children in one of the most powerful antiwar dramas in history.

2011-12 Academic year

Beatrice is the single mother of two daughters, Ruth and Tillie. Together, they try to make sense of their dysfunctional family and their abysmal status in life. This is a student-directed performance. All performances are free, no ticket needed.

The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this musical parable. Set to a range of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock, this Old Testament tale is timely and timeless.

If you want to purchase tickets and the date you want to attend isn't available, the online tickets are sold out. Tickets may still be available at the Box Office. 

100

"100" is a play that focuses on a single memory in a person's life.

In "100," characters choose a single memory from their lives — everything else is erased. Choosing that memory is their only way of passing through eternity.

2010-11 Academic year

This 2002 one-act off-Broadway musical follows the five-year relationship between Jamie, a novelist, and Cathy, an actress. Cathy tells her story in reverse, starting at the divorce, while Jamie tells his story from the beginning. Their stories intersect at their wedding in the middle of the show.

This boisterous musical is a tongue-in-cheek reinterpretation of the 1936 film warning against the pitfalls of “reefer madness.” When clean-cut kids fall victim to marijuana, bedlam ensues. Follow them down a spiral of sex, violence and godless jazz. The musical contains adult humor, religious parody, drug use, suggested violence and sexual content. It is not intended for young audiences.

This Pulitzer Prize winning play follows the relationship between Li’l Bit and her Uncle Peck. As a 34-year-old narrator, Li’l Bit looks back on her life through a series of episodes, each time explaining more about her uncle and their relationship. The play explores sensitive issues and prejudices through Li’l Bit’s metaphor of learning how to drive.

This ancient Greek story is reshaped for contemporary audiences by acclaimed Irish novelist and playwright Edna O’Brien. Iphigenia illuminates the terrifying certainty that, in times of war, unspeakable actions commonly prompt unpredictable consequences. Must young Iphigenia be sacrificed to appease the gods so that her father’s army can sail to war against Troy? Or is there a chance she can be saved?

This 1965 play captures the relationship between Felix Ungar, an uptight neat freak, and Oscar Madison, his slovenly and messy roommate. Felix and Oscar struggle to find the balance and compromise of their relationship in this unconventional comedy. This show runs alongside its counterpart, The Female Odd Couple.

Written in 1985, The Female Odd Couple is Neil Simon’s female version of his play The Odd Couple. Changing the names to Florence Ungar and Olive Madison, Simon tells the same story of how two extremely contrasting roommates try to live under one roof in as much harmony as possible. This show runs alongside its counterpart, The Odd Couple.

Oklahoma! is the first “book musical” ever written. Set in Claremore, Oklahoma! follows the love story of Curly McLain and Laurey Williams. After refusing to join Curly at the Box Social, Laurey accepts Jud Fry’s invitation only to spite Curly. Jud’s sinister acts cause much trouble in Claremore and eventually destroy his relationship with Laurey. Meanwhile, Ado Annie Carnes is caught between her two beaus: the cowboy returning from Kansas City, Will Parker, and the Persian Peddler, Ali Hakim.

Romeo and Juliet has variously been called “the greatest love story of all time”, a “lyric tragedy”, and a “hymn to youth, to passion, to speed, to danger.” This production invites audiences to hear the story and feel its tragic urgency as if for the first time. The role of Romeo will be performed by James Hesse of Kirkwood, Mo., and the role of Juliet will be played by Karlene Grinberg of Blair.

This classic play captures the spirit of what Christmas should be. Ebenezer Scrooge’s grumpy demeanor is changed when he is visited by four ghosts: his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and a ghost for each of Scrooge’s Christmases: Past, Present and Future. Celebrate the season with carols, cookies and festive retelling of A Christmas Carol.

James “Sharky” Harkin is an alcoholic who’s moved in with his blind and aging brother, Richard. He sits down to play poker with friends on Christmas Eve. When a stranger from the past arrives to play, Sharky realizes that the stakes have changed and his hopes are in jeopardy.
Recommended for mature audiences.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone is a 2008 comedy about the power that a piece of technology can have over our lives. The play’s protagonist, Jean, becomes annoyed when the phone of the man next to her continues to ring without his acknowledgement. Jean answers the incessant phone for him before realizing the man is, in fact, dead. Jean searches through the man’s phone to learn more about him, and is sucked into his twisted family’s world.

Bobby is 35 and single. Several of his friends and ex-girlfriends come together to celebrate his birthday. The attendees offer their opinions about Bobby’s life and potential solutions to his every problem. A series of vignettes examine the love lives and relationships between the 14 characters.

Rather than a linear story, Stein envisioned a poetic landscape centering on the characters of Sweet William and his Lillian. With a blend of playfulness, philosophy and personal testimony, Stein created a joyful explosion of imagery, sound, wordplay and movement in this unique, experimental performance.

The Mousetrap, written by “the Queen of Crime,” is the world’s longest running play. Mollie and Giles Ralston are opening a new Guest House, but its first day of business does not go as expected. When five guests turn up in the middle of a crippling snowstorm, the Ralstons struggle to keep them calm and comfortable. The suspense builds when Detective Sergeant Trotter arrives to warn them that a murderer is on the loose nearby, and that someone among them is likely to be the next victim. See what has delighted audiences for over 24,000 performances.

This play brings back to life the enchanting characters of E.B. White’s highly acclaimed children’s book. The play begins with the unconventional friendship between Fern and her pig, Wilbur. Fern has saved Wilbur from being slaughtered but cannot save him from being sold to a neighboring family. At the Zuckerman’s, Wilbur makes friends with Charlotte, the lovable spider. Charlotte helps to keep Wilbur from being killed by making him famous by calling Wilbur “some pig” with her web.

Todd, a barber, meets Mrs. Lovett who owns a pie shop beneath Todd’s old home. Both work together to get revenge on the world by killing as many people as they can and baking them into Mrs. Lovett’s pies. The success of the pies is astounding. However, all turns awry when Mrs. Lovett admits to knowing secrets about Sweeney’s past.

Contact or visit us

Elder Memorial Theatre Center
(McDonald and Miller Theatres)
51st and Huntington Ave.
Lincoln, NE 68504-2794
402.465.2395
theatre [at] nebrwesleyan.edu