1. “Urinetown: The Musical”
“Urinetown: The Musical” by the Undergraduate Theatre Association (UTA) and InterMission Theatre (IMT) was the best production I saw this semester. Every actor just seemed to fit perfectly with their character in this production. Usually there are one or two standout performers, but this cast was just spot-on, and I was hugely impressed by the group. The show featured student talent in other ways as well, from the lighting to the props to the direction, which all heightened the drama perfectly. Overall, it was a huge success for just a two-day run, and I’m so glad I caught it because it was completely hilarious.
2. “Little Shop of Horrors”
“Little Shop of Horrors” was produced by the UTA in September, and this was another memorable performance featuring oodles of student talent. Personally having a huge soft spot for this show, I was delighted by this rendition. It was funny, well-done and my second-favorite of the semester. The iconic “Suddenly, Seymour” did not disappoint, with Ben Jaeger and Caitlin Rowe as the ideal Seymour and Audrey.
3. "Something Rotten!"
It’s hard to rank a Broadway production fairly among university productions, but of course I had to put “Something Rotten!” in the top five Madison plays this year. The show was awe-inspiring all around and had me constantly smiling. However, it couldn’t make the top spot because of problems with the musical itself, which features few female cast members and lacks a fair representation of any woman. Although its attempts at feminism are severely outdated for modern times, the show was incredibly entertaining, so it still takes the third spot within my top five theater productions.
4. "Six Characters in Search of an Author"
“Six Characters in Search of an Author” was another great student-based production here at the Hemsley Theatre in Madison. The play centered on a theme of obscured reality and confusion that can feel very relatable in our technology-dependent times, even though the play was written in 1921. Featuring strong acting performances from many students, this was a very moving piece that has stuck with me since seeing it in October.
5. "Tragedy: A Tragedy"
Finally, I have Will Eno’s “Tragedy: A Tragedy” put on by the UTA as well. This show was underrated based on the attendance, although I can understand not wanting to be depressed for an hour and a half. Besides the gloomy nature of the play, the production itself was extremely well-done. We had some impressive performances in what was surely a difficult show to tackle: The cast nicely juggled the comedy and drama of this satirical play.