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USD Theatre Livestreams Heartwarming and Hilarious Musical Fairy Tale

Zach Lopez, Joshua Young and Patrick Simonsen in the USD Department of Theatre production of Zanna, Don Zach Lopez, Joshua Young and Patrick Simonsen (L to R) in the USD Department of Theatre production of "Zanna, Don't!"

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre gears up to beat the winter doldrums with the joyous musical comedy “Zanna, Don’t!” written by Tim Acito with additional material by Alexander Dinelaris. This delightful musical streams for free March 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m. at

“Zanna, Don’t!” is set in a parallel universe where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is a no go. This magical extravaganza follows a group of friends in Heartsville, USA as they decide to put on a controversial drama club production to challenge the status quo. When things go awry, Zanna, the local matchmaker, calls on the power of love to keep his friends safe.

“Zanna, Don’t!” is directed by third-year M.F.A. candidate Oliver Mayes and serves as his thesis production. "Leading this production has been fulfilling in many ways. I have the honor of building a dynamic parallel universe on stage through collaboration with an incredible artistic team and cast of actors,” Mayes said. “Together, we also have the opportunity to teach our audiences about empathy, while bringing joy and laughter to their lives, all from the comfort of their homes."

Rehearsed and performed under COVID-19 protocols, the creative team and cast have risen to the challenge to present a fully realized and unique piece of theatre.

“Despite the complex conditions around preparing ‘Zanna Don’t!’ for performance, we’ve managed to foster a safe work environment that encourages us to play in the world we created,” said Joshua Young, a freshman B.F.A. musical theatre major who takes on the role of the magical Zanna. “Every time I walk into rehearsal, I know I’m going to discover something new about me or my character or my cast mates.”

Senior B.F.A. musical theatre major Shelby Gibbins is elated about the opportunities that this show has provided. “I was fortunate to have served in the role as dance captain, as well as being in the ensemble. It is an honor that I was given such a great opportunity at an undergraduate level,” Gibbins said.

Junior B.F.A. design/tech major Brittney Lewis takes on the roles of costume, make-up and hair designer. “While working on ‘Zanna Don't!,’ I have seen so much passion from the students involved in the show and that is evident in every aspect of this show,” said Lewis. “I had the absolute pleasure of working with an incredibly fun, collaborative, loving, and student-driven team! Come experience the love.”

Filled with sequins, musical bops and a mechanical bull, audiences don't want to miss “Zanna, Don't!” Check out USD Theatre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for interviews and photos.

“Zanna, Don’t!” streams for free March 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m. at, captioned and un-captioned options will be available.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News