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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Plays to watch this school year

    Michelle A. Monroe
    Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat Judith Bliss, played by acting senior Megan Davis, performs a monologue as her husband David Bliss, played by acting senior Joe Hubbard and Myra Arundel, played by acting senior Michelle Luz, look on. Arundel flirts with David Bliss throughout the play. Hay Fever opens on Oct. 12.

    One common general education requirement is Theatre Appreciation, which requires students to see a few shows and review them. The Daily Wildcat is here to help you figure out which shows you can’t miss …and which to skip if they’re not your cup of tea.

    Fall Semester

    How I Learned to Drive
    By: Paula Vogel

    This play has the potential to be the hipster’s favorite. One New York Times reviewer named “How I Learned to Drive” “one of the most discomfiting love stories to emerge from the American theater.” The play tells the story of an uncle teaching his niece to drive, which would seem a typical coming-of-age story if it weren’t for the uncle’s attempts to pursue a sexual relationship with his niece during these lessons. Known for its witty and often deadpan approach to a taboo topic, “How I Learned to Drive” is likely to interest those looking for emotional depth and great dialogue. In general, reviewers agree this is a play that sticks with the audience.

    Fun fact: Mary Louise Parker, from Showtime’s “Weeds” was the first to play the lead role of Li’l Bit.

    Who to bring: Not your uncle!

    Avenue Q

    Music, lyrics and original concept by: Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
    Book by: Jeff Whitty

    If you think you don’t like theater (but somehow found yourself in this class), this might be the show for you. Avenue Q is formatted like a naughty Sesame Street that satirizes the perils of adulthood, such as finding a job (“What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”), dealing with discrimination (“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”), accepting friend’s choices (“If You Were Gay”) and coping with growing pains (“I Wish I Could Go Back to College”). This musical is sharp and unforgettably funny, but not for the easily offended. A good litmus test: How uncomfortable would you feel watching puppets have sex? Also, if you find puppetry grating, sit this one out. Avenue Q has a rapid following, and with good reason, so make sure you secure a seat early.

    Fun fact: Robert Lopez co-wrote the musical episode of “Scrubs.”

    Who to bring: Great for a group outing with all your pals. Make sure to bring along your friend who’s getting a B.A. in English.

    Inspecting Carol
    By: Daniel J. Sullivan

    Don’t worry, this isn’t another interpretation of “A Christmas Carol.” Instead, this play tells the story of a theater company struggling to get their production of Dickins’ classic that serves as its moneymaker. With an inspector coming from the National Endowment for the Arts to approve the production, the company gets jumpy, identifies the wrong person as the inspector and begins tailoring the show to his every impulse. The result is a farce that spoofs the theater by incorporating slapstick and highly flawed but amusing characters. “Inspecting Carol” is sure to be a nice break as preparation for finals sinks in and anticipation for awkward family gatherings begins.

    Fun Fact: Sullivan is more famous for being a director than a playwright, having won both a Drama Desk Award and a Tony for directing. It’s likely that his background in directing gave him the insight needed to satirize the theater in “Inspecting Carol.”

    Who to bring: Your artsy friends are likely to enjoy the
    lampooning of the creative process. This is also the point in the semester where at least a few friends will be wondering why they wanted to major in biochemistry.

    Spring Semester

    Love Song
    By: John Kolvenbach

    “Love Song” is the quirky story of an oddball falling in love with the burglar who comes to rob him, only to get annoyed when he doesn’t have much to steal. This play takes a humorous look at what is reality and what is normal.

    Who to bring: “Love Song” is a solid date choice, offering plenty to talk about after the play, and will most likely put everyone in a good mood.

    Music and lyrics by: Maury Yeston
    Book by: Arthur Kopit

    Film buffs will want to see “Nine,” which is based on renowned director Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film “8 ½.” The play tells the story of a director suffering from a creative block as he reflects on the women in his life.

    Fun Fact: The 2009 film version of the musical was regarded as flop.

    Who to bring: Your media arts friends or creative writing friends who are struggling to polish up those last few stories at the end of the semester.

    By: William Shakespeare

    The name “Shakespeare” alone may evoke a groan from those still reeling from high school English classes, but this is an exciting addition to the season because “Cymbeline” is a rare work of Shakespeare’s that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Known for being packed with key plot points from his other works, “Cymbeline” is sure to have a little bit of everything you either love or loathe about Shakespeare. If you already think the Bard’s a bore, make sure you don’t wait until the last minute to see it, which will surely amp up the suffering factor. Iambic pentameter fans and those who enjoy fairy tales are likely to be pleased.

    Fun fact: “Cymbeline” is thought to be one of poet John Keats’ favorite plays.

    Who to bring: In true Shakespearean fashion, this play could help you deceive others about your appearance. Want your parents to think you’re actually learning something? Go to “Cymbeline.” Want your date to think you’re a lot classier than the pile of pizza boxes in your unkempt dorm room suggest? Go to “Cymbeline.”

    Music, book and lyrics by: John Kander and Fred Ebb

    Set in the 1920s, “Chicago” has something for the sensationalist in all of us. With a plot saturated in murder, sex and fame, this musical is a good choice for the person who doesn’t really want to be in this class, but would like to see scantily clad ladies and likes gangsters. With strong female leads who belt out songs that are fun to sing along with, “Chicago” also tends to be a favorite among gal pals. Despite its racy subject matter, “Chicago” is also a safe show for the parents: most of its thrilling indecency can be written off since it’s a period piece and a renowned Broadway heavyweight.

    Fun fact: Chicago Tribune Reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins originally wrote “Chicago” as a play for a class assignment. She based it off of murder trials she had covered and it was adapted into a musical after her death.

    Who to bring: Great for a date night or a girls’ night out.

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