Department of Drama Announces 2023-24 Season

Exterior signage on theater complexThe Department of Drama is pleased to announce the 2023/2024 season, consisting of six productions: “Guys and Dolls” (Oct. 6 – 15), “Ghost Ship” (Nov. 10 – 18), “A Christmas Carol” (Nov. 24 – Dec. 31 and co-produced with Syracuse Stage), “Head Over Heels” (March 1 – 9), “Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle” (March 29 – April 14) and “The Droll (Or, a Stage-Play About The End of Theatre)” (April 19 – 28).

This season offers several unique opportunities for audiences, providing a more immediate experience of the characters and action. “Ghost Ship” is a fully immersive, multi-sensory theatrical experience with a limited audience of only 16 “passengers” per performance and a 45-minute runtime. Due to the length of the show, multiple performances will be held each evening. “Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle” gives the audience the feel of being part of the employee’s breakroom and will be performed in the Loft Theatre instead of the Storch Theatre, where most Department of Drama productions are held.

To accommodate the unique theater experiences and seating of this season, the Department of Drama is offering a three-play subscription for 2023/2024. This subscription includes tickets for “Guys and Dolls,” “Head Over Heels” and “The Droll (Or a Stage-Play About the End of Theatre)”. Single tickets will be available for “Ghost Ship,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle” with discounts available for subscribers. Learn more and buy tickets.

“I am excited for the opportunities the upcoming season provides – not only for our audiences, but also for our student performers and designers,” says Drama Departmetn Chair Ralph Zito. “Not only are we presenting our usual wide range of stories, but we are also digging deeply into the way those stories are told, as we exploring immersive theater, intimate storytelling, and new ways to incorporate music and dance.”

“Guys and Dolls,” is based on the story and characters of Damon Runyon, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, directed and choreographed by Banji Aborisade with musical direction by Brian Cimmet. Topping Entertainment Weekly’s list of the ‘Greatest Musicals of All Time,” “Guys and Dolls” is everything we love about musical theater. Nathan Detriot needs serious dough to keep his craps game afloat and his marriage-minded girlfriend, Adelaide, happy. When Nathan makes a bet with high-roller Sky Masterson, his problems appear to be solved. Featuring unforgettable show tunes like “Luck Be a Lady” and the irrepressible “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Guys and Dolls” will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

Up next “Ghost Ship” by Philip Valle and directed by Ricky Pak, is referred to as a tragedy without explanation and a mystery without escape by its playwright. Calling on its audience to climb aboard the ghastly Mary Whelan as they re-live a 19th century murder trail, “Ghost Ship” is a 45-minute sensory voyage not for the timid of heart. Based on true events – and a mysteriously incomplete record – it was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2019 with ten national awards including Outstanding Theatrical Creation.

The co-production with Syracuse Stage is the iconic “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, adapted by Richard Hellesen and David Deberry, with musical orchestration by Gregg Coffin. Located in the Archbold Theatre, this holiday season brings a tried-and-true family favorite to Syracuse with the greatest ghost story ever told! Melissa Rain Anderson directs the treasured production which runs from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31. Featuring the awe-inspiring 2 Ring Circus from New York City, this beautiful and timeless message of generosity’s triumphing over greed is sure to warm your heart and fill your soul when the weather turns cold.

The spring semester begins with “Head Over Heels,” by Jeff Whitty, adapted by James Magruder and directed by Kiira Schmidt-Carper and Kathleen Wrinn, with musical direction by Brian Cimmet. A hilarious and sexy celebration of love in all its infinite varieties, this bold and fierce modern musical comedy comes from the visionary minds that rocked Broadway with “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Avenue Q” and “Spring Awakening.” Told through the story of a royal family embarking on an extravagant journey and set to the iconic music of the 1980s all-female band The Go-Go’s, it includes the hit songs “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Following is “Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle,” by Alexander Perez and directed by Adam Coy in the Loft Theatre. It’s always a great day at Randy’s. . . unless you work there! “Randy’s Dandy” is a darkly comedic play following the lives of five co-workers of a small, run down amusement park in the Florida Panhandle. The highs and lows of working at “Randy’s” are no joke, but it’s also too funny and too relatable not to break your heart and leave you laughing throughout. “Randy’s Dandy,” explores class, capitalism and the American dream through the colorful lens of a deeply flawed and human group of people.

The season concludes with “The Droll (Or, a Stage-Play About the End of Theatre),” directed by Celia Madeoy. In 2011, playwright Meg Miroshnik pondered the question, “What would it have been like to discover a passion for acting during the 18 years in which theater was illegal and considered an abomination in 17th-century Puritan England?” She also posed the question: “What is it like to fall in love with theater today in the face of anxieties about its future and future audiences?” This daring and darkly funny play celebrates our need to come together in the act of collective storytelling.

A three-play subscription for “Guys and Dolls,” “Head Over Heels” and “The Droll (Or a Stage-Play About the End of Theatre)” and single tickets are now on sale online through the Syracuse Stage Box Office, or by calling 315.443.3275.

Guys and Dolls
Based on original story and characters by Damon Runyon
Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Directed and Choreographed by Banji Aborisade
Music direction by Brian Cimmet
Oct. 6 – 15

Ghost Ship
By Philip Vale
Directed by Ricky Pak
Nov. 10 – 18

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen and David Deberry
Music by Gregg Coffin
Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
Co-produced with Syracuse Stage
Featuring 2 Ring Circus
Nov. 24 – Dec. 31

Head Over Heels
By Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
Directed Kiira Schmidt-Carper and Kathleen Wrinn
Music direction by Brian Cimmet
March 1 – 9

Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle
By Alexander Perez
Directed by Adam Coy
March 29 – April 14

The Droll (Or, a Stage-Play About the End of Theatre)
By Meg Miroshnik
Directed by Celia Madeoy
April 19 – 28