First, it’s a trip to Mississippi in the 1910s with Tennessee Williams’ “The Eccentricities of a Nightingale.” This achingly beautiful play is Williams’ revised and definitive version of his earlier play “Summer and Smoke.” Blending humor and pathos, realism and poetry, hope and regret, “Eccentricities” runs Sept. 26 – 29.

The fall semester concludes with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” adapted from Victor Hugo’s classic novel and the beloved Disney film. Journey back to Medieval France and the iconic cathedral as we follow the fortunes of the beautiful heroine Esmeralda and the bell-ringer Quasimodo. Written by Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Peter Parnell, “Hunchback” runs Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8.

In February, USD Theatre goes on a whitewater ride with “Men on Boats,” written by one of America’s most exciting new playwrights, Jaclyn Backhaus. Travel with us to John Wesley Powell’s 1869 exploration of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Backhaus recasts the historical males with women performers in this hilarious and insightful ode to the adventurous pioneer spirit. The uniquely metatheatrical “Men on Boats” runs Feb. 20-23.

The season concludes with a visit to the Jazz Age with “The Drowsy Chaperone.” This 21st century musical is a loving and hilarious send-up of 1920s musicals, filled with delightful music, madcap comedy and show-stopping dances. The impending wedding of a Broadway star and an oil tycoon nearly hits the rocks with all the intrigue created by a scheming producer, a tipsy chaperone and two dancing gangsters. “Chaperone” runs April 17-19 and 23-26.

These four diverse shows will be presented in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Season tickets, which provide a 25% savings over standard ticket prices, are $45 for adults, $36 for senior citizens (62+) and $30 for youth (k-12) and non-USD students. A form for ordering season tickets can be downloaded from the USD Theatre ticket information website or can be requested by calling 605.658.3484 or emailing us at

In addition to our four-show mainstage season, we are excited to present two additional offerings. The intimate setting of the Arena Stage will be home to the regional premiere of “Story of Susanna” by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. Inspired by the character from the biblical apocrypha, this play examines gender expectations, sexuality and the cycles of violence that impact women from many walks of life. This award-winning Native Hawaiian and Samoan playwright takes us on a poetic journey that ultimately leaves us with a message of hope. “Susanna” runs Oct. 24-27. In the spring, we will launch the inaugural Ronald L. Moyer One-Act Play Festival. This popular annual event has been renamed in honor of the longtime USD theatre professor and department chair. The collection of short, student-directed plays runs March 20 – 22. 

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