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Behind the curtain: a look at UA student theater’s fall and spring lineups

Courtesy of Ed Flores/Arizona Repertory Theatre
Extra-turned-director Phil (Matthew Osvog) goes a bit too far in this scene with Carl (Thomas Tyler West), the Queen (Shira Maas), Benny (Zachary Zupke) and Louise (Tyler Reaser) from the comedy “Epic Proportions,” presented by Arizona Repertory Theatre at the UA.

The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film & Television is kicking off this new year with a full line-up of shows, ranging from Shakespearean plays to musicals and dramas, all available to students for only $15 at either the Marroney or the Tornabene Theatre.

Initially, the theatre department will showcase “Like Heaven”, written by UA Theater Professor Elaine Romero. 

“’Like Heaven’ is particularly exciting because it is a world premiere and was written by UA Professor Elaine Romero. She is incredibly talented and we are very lucky to have her on staff and be able to present her work,” said Julie Vance, director of marketing for the school. 

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“Like Heaven” centers around April, a young girl who dreams of singing the blues but is torn between her ambition and her relationships with friends and family until a mysterious stranger provides her with an opportunity to escape her home.

Mandy Spartz, a sophomore majoring in design & technology, will be earning a lighting credit by working on “Like Heaven” and said she is “super excited about that show,” because it’s brand new. The students have been working with the playwright throughout the process to prepare for the show’s premiere, Spartz explained.

Eva (Shira Elena Maas) and Juan Perón (Alex Gossard) experience a political and powerful romance as Che (Matthew Osvog) glowers at them in Arizona Repertory Theatre's production of "Evita."
Eva (Shira Elena Maas) and Juan Perón (Alex Gossard) experience a political and powerful romance as Che (Matthew Osvog) glowers at them in Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production of “Evita.”

The musical “Sister Act,” another show coming to campus this semester, is expected to be popular because of the hit movie it originates from. 

“The show is fun and full of great music, so it will leave you feeling good when you leave the theatre,” Vance said.

For students who enjoy dark comedies, Vance suggests “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” a play originally written by Martin McDonagh, who also penned “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The performance aims to discuss themes of power, struggle and success, according to Vance.

“Top Girls,” another show coming this fall, will depict one woman’s rise to success and the consequent sacrifices that she must make. It asks the question, “Can women really have it all?” Vance said.

“Richard the Third”, one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays, is both violent and ruthless, reflecting power struggles in society and the lengths to which some leaders will go in order to secure their power.

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Finally, “Spring Awakening” will be the last show of the school year. A musical featuring several Rock ‘n Roll numbers, it is a coming of age story that touches upon the turmoil youths face that can leave one feeling alone and misunderstood as adulthood draws ever nearer, according to Vance.

“The arts should be a part of everyone’s lives,” Vance said. “Theatre, music, dance and art can provide us with an escape from our daily lives and problems.” 

She said it can also be a reflection of “our lives and the world around us.”  

For more information about the upcoming shows, visit 

To purchase tickets for upcoming shows, please stop by the College of Fine Arts box office in the Marroney Theatre at 1025 N. Olive Rd., call (520) 621-1162 or visit 

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