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March 23, 2020

Shows About the Spirit of Community


The theatre community knows better than anyone that it takes a village. But right now in this time of isolation, it can be easy to forget that we are nothing without our community. Whether it’s putting on a show, raising a child, or helping preserve public health, remember that we are in this together.

Help celebrate the power of community with these plays and musicals.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood (Comedy / 5f)
It’s 1956 and The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are having their annual quiche breakfast. As the assembled “widows” await the announcement of the society’s prize-winning quiche, the atomic bomb sirens sound! Has the Communist threat come to pass? How will the “widows” respond as their idyllic town and lifestyle faces attacks? A tasty recipe of hysterical laughs, sexual innuendoes, unsuccessful repressions, and delicious discoveries. (US/UK)

26 Pebbles by Eric Ulloa (Drama /4m, 2f)
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty-six innocent souls before taking his own life. These twenty-six innocent deaths, like pebbles thrown into a pond, created ripples and vibrations that were felt far beyond the initial rings. This is the story of those vibrations. Playwright Eric Ulloa conducted interviews with members of the community in Newtown and crafted them into an exploration of gun violence and a small town shaken by a horrific event. (US/UK)

Allegro by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (Dramatic Comedy / 5f, 6m)
This ensemble musical chronicles nearly four decades in the life of Joseph Taylor, Jr. from cradle through a mid-life discovery of who he is and what his life is truly about. The unique structural format of this musical allows the saga to whisk us from the tranquility of his small Midwestern hometown to the hectic din of big city life in a series of vignettes and musical sequences dazzling in their simplicity and stunning in their impact. (US/UK)

The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey (Drama / 1f)
A fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting. One man walked into an Amish schoolhouse and murdered five girls. What happens in its wake is an unforgettable story about the Amish community and the path to forgiveness. Also available in an ensemble version. (US/UK)

Anne & Gilbert, The Musical by Jeff Hochhauser, Bob Johnston, and Nancy White (Dramatic Comedy / 6f, 8m)
Set in the village of Avonlea and at Redmond College in Halifax, Anne & Gilbert follows Anne’s journey to young adulthood and her romance with her high school academic rival, Gilbert Blythe. Gilbert is in love with Anne, but she seems to be immune to his declarations of love. In the end, Anne realizes what everyone else already knows: that Gilbert is the love of her life. (US)

As You Like It by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery (Dramatic Comedy / 5f, 6m)
Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia, escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. (US/UK)

Babes in Arms by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Adapted by John Guare (Comedy / 2f, 1m, 3 girls, 8 boys)
Valentine and his teenage friends find themselves unsupervised while their folks hit the vaudeville summer circuit. The local sheriff, regarding the kids as indolent loafers, threatens to send them to a work farm. But the determined kids talk the sheriff into a two-week reprieve — just enough time to produce their own show and prove their mettle. The old-fashioned virtues of this early musical comedy are peppered with socio-political issues and a sophisticated jocularity, maintaining the show’s delights more than eight decades after its creation. (US/UK)

Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, T.S. Eliot, Trevor Nunn, and Richard Stilgoe (Comedy / 7f, 11m)
Set amongst a larger-than-life junkyard playground and is alive with purr-fect felines. The Jellicle Cats come out to play on one special night of the year — the night of the Jellicle Ball. One by one they tell their stories for the amusement of Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, who must choose one of the Cats to ascend to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life. (US)

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie by Dan Gillespie Sells, Tom MacRae, Jonathan Butterell (Dramatic Comedy / 8f, 10m)
Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. But Jamie is going to be a sensation. Supported by his brilliant, loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies, and steps out of the darkness into the spotlight. (US/UK)

Footloose by Tom Snow, Dean Pitchford, Walter Bobbie, Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, Jim Steinman (Dramatic Comedy / 7f, 8m)
When Ren and his mother move from Chicago
to a small farming town, he is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. But he’s not prepared for the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, who is determined to exercise control over the town’s youth. The heartfelt story that emerges pins a father longing for the son he lost against a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated Top Forty score, augmented with dynamic new songs, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people while guiding them with a warm heart and open mind. (US/UK)

Giant by Michael John LaChiusa, Sybille Pearson (Drama / 11f, 11m)
Based on the classic novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Ferber, Giant is a new American musical that spans generations in an epic chronicle of the state that’s like no place else on earth: Texas. Amid a turbulent culture of greed, bigotry and money, a powerful cattleman, his new East Coast bride, their family and friends – not to mention their enemies – embrace and confront the joys and sorrows that loom as large as the state they call home. (US/UK)

Hair by Gerome Ragni, James Rado, and Galt MacDermot (Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 5m)
This American tribal love rock musical celebrates the Sixties hippie counterculture in all its barefoot, long-haired, bell-bottomed, beaded and fringed glory. As we bask in hits like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning, Starshine,” and “Let the Sun Shine,” we watch as these young adults lean on each other as they grapple with identity, community, responsibility, peace, and what it means to be a young person in a changing, volatile world. (US/UK)

In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Quiara Alegría Hudes (Comedy / 6m, 6m)
In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams, and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. (US/UK)

Kodachrome by Adam Szymkowicz (Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 2m)
Welcome to Colchester, a small town where everybody knows each other and the pace of life allows the pursuit of love to take up as much space as it needs. Our tour guide is Suzanne, the town photographer, who lets us peek into her neighbors’ lives to catch glimpses of romance in all its stages of development. A play about love, nostalgia, the seasons and how we learn to say goodbye. (US/UK)

LMNOP by Paul Loesel and Scott Burkell (Dark Comedy / 6f, 6m, 1 girl, 1 boy)
Chaos arises when letters begin to fall from a town monument and government officials ban them one by one. The community depends on the strength of a determined teenage girl to fight for their freedom of speech. Adapted from Mark Dunn’s 2001 award-winning debut novel, Ella Minnow Pea, this unique musical is part romance, part clever word game, and part adult fable that reminds us how precious our liberties are and how important it is to have the courage to stand up for what we believe. (US/UK)

Middletown by Will Eno (Dramatic Comedy / 6f, 6m)
A deeply moving and funny play exploring the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident, John Dodge, and new arrival Mary Swanson, the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between. (US/UK)

Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (Comedy / 4f, 6m)
In a Western territory just after the turn of the 20th century, a high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides a colorful background for Curly, a charming cowboy, and Laurey, a feisty farm girl, to play out their love story. Their romantic journey contrasts with the comic exploits of brazen Ado Annie and hapless Will Parker in a musical adventure embracing hope, determination, and the promise of a new land. (US/UK)

Our Town by Thornton Wilder (Drama / 7f, 17m)
Set in the small town of Grover’s Corners, the play takes us through three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.” Narrated by a stage manager and performed with minimal props and sets, audiences follow the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually – in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre – die. A picture of an every day community and the simple but astounding blessing that is life itself. (US/UK)

Popcorn Falls by James Hindman (Dramatic Comedy / 2m)
The sleepy town of Popcorn Falls is forced into bankruptcy when a neighboring town threatens to turn them into a sewage treatment plant. Their only hope? Open a theater, of course! Two actors play over twenty roles in a world of farce, love, and desperation, proving once and for all that art can save the world. (US)

The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers by Lori Fischer and Don Chaffer (Comedy / 2f, 2m)
Along with the family dry cleaning business, Juni
e has also inherited the responsibility of taking care of her aging father and her sister who has just come back from rehab. When all Junie wants is to achieve her dream of becoming a country star, a small opportunity comes her way via the local church. She has been offered the opportunity to sing parting songs that are tailor-made for the recently deceased. A hilarious and compelling musical about family, loss, and the ways life gives you exactly what you need. (US/UK)

The Spitfire Grill by James Valcq and Fred Alley (Drama / 4f, 3m)
A feisty parolee follows her dreams, based on a page from an old travel book, to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The Grill is for sale, but there are no takers for the only eatery in the depressed town, so newcomer Percy convinces Hannah to raffle it off. Entry fees are one hundred dollars and the best essay on why you want the Grill wins. Soon, the mail arrives by the wheelbarrow and things really start cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill. (US/UK)

Southern Comfort by Julianne Wick David and Dan Collins (Drama / 5f, 6m)
Based on the 2001 Sundance Film Festival documentary, Southern Comfort follows the last year of Robert Eads, a transgender man in Georgia, as he is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. He surrounds himself with his chosen family (who are predominantly transgender) as they share monthly potluck meals. Like any family, they have their own trials and tribulations, but ultimately they all seek acceptance for who they are in their own skin. (US/UK)

Squirrel Girl Goes to College: A Squirrel Girl Play (Marvel Spotlight) by Karen Zacarías (Comedy / 3f, 1m, 14 any gender)
Doreen arrives at Empire State University to make new friends — and protect them from super-villains — by keeping her superhero identity a secret. But when a beloved computer science professor suddenly disappears, can Doreen trust her friends with her inner squirrel so she can save the day? (US)

The View UpStairs by Max Vernon (Drama / 2f, 8m)
When Wes, a young fashion designer from 2017, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he finds himself transported to the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant seventies gay bar. As this forgotten community comes to life, Wes embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. The View UpStairs asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future. (US/UK)

What to Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris (Drama / 4f, 4m)
As lines between characters and actors — as well as observers and observed — blur, a dizzying series of vignettes build to a climactic moment in which performance and reality collide, highlighting the absurdity of anti-Blackness in our society. Through facilitation and dialogue, we must decide how to cope, resist, and move forward. (US/UK)

For even more shows to celebrate and share with your community, visit

(photo: Joan Marcus)