Theatre and Dance release schedule for 21-22 season


Katarina Rothhorn

The Forest Roberts Theatre is the home of the Theatre and Dance Department at NMU. Among the 12 shows that they will be performing this season are ‘Above the Timberline’, ‘Elf the Musical’ and ‘Next to Normal’.

Katarina Rothhorn, Features Editor

After a year of delayed and virtual performances, the Department of Theatre and Dance is coming back in full swing for the 2021-22 season. They have a lineup of 12 shows that will keep the stage open from September through July. 

“We will be ‘step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch’-ing (which is the opening dance sequence in A Chorus Line) our way through 2021 and 2022,” Jill Grundstrom, professor of theater and dance, said.

All 12 shows are accessible with the Forest Roberts Theatre Flex Pass, which costs $60 for NMU students. Tickets can also be purchased at the Forest Roberts Theatre box office or at the Berry Events Center ticket office. 

All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and all matinee performances begin at 1 p.m. For more information about times and dates for each show, visit the NMU theatre and dance website.

Kicking off the season will be the Spotlight Variety Show on Sept. 3 and 4. The show is a combination of songs, skits, monologues and dance performances from students. 

From Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, NMU students and faculty will share the stage in the CO/LAB COLLECTIVE. The dance showcase is choreographed and performed by both dance students and faculty and will incorporate numerous dance genres. 

The first play of the season will be ‘Above the Timberline,’ performed on Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 20-23. The show was written by Gregory Manchess and follows Wes, the son of a polar explorer who disappeared while looking for a lost city. Wes ventures out in search of his father who he believes to still be alive. The play is based on a novel by the same name. 

To finish off the Fall 2021 semester, theatre students will perform ‘Elf the Musical’ based on the book and movie ‘Elf.’ The musical comedy takes the North Pole to NYC where Buddy the Elf attempts to find his human father after being raised as an elf. The performances will take place Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 8-11.

The Winter 2022 semester will start ‘Next to Normal,’ a rock musical drama that deals with themes of family, loss and mental illness. Diana Goodman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, struggles to grieve her past alongside her husband and daughter. The show is based on a book by Brain Yorkey of the same name and can be seen on Jan. 28-29 and Feb. 2-5.

The following play will be a coming-of-age performance written by Sarah DeLappe, titled ‘The Wolves.’ The show follows a girls soccer team as they practice, gossip and struggle to find their own selves within the group. Considered a tragicomedy, the performance focuses on themes of adolescence and femininity and can be viewed Feb. 18-19 and Feb. 23-26.

Finishing off the Winter 2022 semester season is a more lighthearted musical: ‘The Producers.’ After his new show flops on opening night, the ‘King of Broadway’ Max Bialystock decides to become his own producer and create the biggest flop in musical history, as that might theoretically make him more money than a successful show. The comedy is the winner of 12 Tony Awards and takes the stage April 8-9 and April 13-16. 

Students will continue to perform at the 2022 North Coast Theatre and Dance Festival, even after the school year is over. 

The winner of the 2021 Panowski Playwriting Competition, ‘A Complicated Hope’ will be premiering on June 8-12. Written by John Mabey, the play follows Marie and her daughter after the death of her husband. They learn he had a secret boyfriend, Arnie, and together they learn to grieve and build a family again. 

‘Footloose,’ an energetic musical based on a film of the same name, will be performed June 15-18 and June 22-25. Set in the little town of Bomont where dancing has been outlawed after a tragic accident, Ren McCormack decides to throw a dance party for a girl he has his eye on. 

For lovers of all things Jimmy Buffett, make sure to check out Buffett Bash on June 30-July 1. The outdoor concert will be performed by a Jimmy Buffett tribute band.

From July 13-16 and July 20-23, ‘A Chorus Line’ will take the stage. The award-winning musical comedy focuses on 17 Broadway dancers who are all trying for a spot in the chorus line. After the first round of cuts, the director asks each dancer to speak about themselves and offers a glimpse into their lives.

The annual North Coast Dance Festival will take place July 27-29 and will feature professional dancers from NMU and across the country. The showcase has special programming and casting that is yet to be announced.