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Act 1 Announces 53rd Season

by Tom McNamara '92, M'21 Aug 30, 2022
Labuda News

The division of performing arts is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 Act 1 season, including six theatre performances, two dance concerts, a 72-hour film challenge, and a film festival.

“We are so excited to be presenting predominately new work this year,” says Anne Lewis, head of the division of performing arts. “We have three premieres in theatre, dance will present all new works by our student choreographers as well as new works by guest artists, and TV/film is always surprising with their new works.”

In addition to the live performances and based on audience demand, Act 1 will continue to stream productions when possible, determined by licensing restrictions. 

“After surveying our patrons, we found there is an audience for streamed theatre. While it does not duplicate the live experience, it offers the opportunity for a larger audience to see our productions.”

 Anne Lewis, head of the division of performing arts 

The first half of the 2022-2023 season opens with a premiere, Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky. Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, but she finds she must also take the measure of her life on Earth. 

Next, we celebrate the life and career of Stephen Sondheim, the undisputed leader of musical theatre for the past 50 years, with a revue of his most famous works in Side by Side by Sondheim

The Emerging Choreographers Concert is an exciting dance concert that features choreography by a select group of students premiering a diverse program of new works. The 72-hour Film Challenge (a streamed film screening) allows our TV/film students to conceptualize, create, film, and edit an original work within 72 hours. 

Along with the sounds of holiday music, marches, hymns, and spirituals, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paula Vogel weaves together multiple stories from one of the darkest moments of our nation's history to create a story of hope, peace, and resilience in another Act 1 premiere A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration

In February, Oscar Wilde hilariously skewers Victorian society with assumed identities, whimsical ingenues, jealous fiancés, indomitable dowagers, and the most famous handbag in theatre history in The Importance of Being Earnest

In March, accompany Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion as they travel to Oz as our senior theatre majors present their children’s production The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the classic tale by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Tim Kelly. 

The annual Dance Ensemble Concert showcases an exciting blend of new and innovative choreographic premieres by renowned guest artists as well as our accomplished dance faculty. 

Next, the DeSales University Film Festival, which is an exciting showcase of world premiere films, featuring the emerging voices of film directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, designers, editors, animators, and actors in the DSU TV/film department. This event will run in-person, and the films will be streamed. 

We end our season with another premiere, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Based on the Victor Hugo novel and the 1996 Disney film with Academy Award nominated songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, this musical tells the famous story of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of the great cathedral of Paris. 

Tickets for Act 1 in-person and streamed productions are on sale now online and through the box office. Streaming tickets for Silent Sky and A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration are available through Broadway on Demand. 

Subscriptions and group sales are on sale as well. The Act 1 subscription package includes Silent SkyA Civil War ChristmasThe Importance of Being Earnest, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Act 1 subscribers are entitled to receive a discounted price on Side by Side by Sondheim, The Emerging Choreographers Concert, The 72-Hour Film Challenge, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Dance Ensemble Concert, and the DeSales University Film Festival. 

This season all productions will be available for streaming with the exception of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, due to licensing restrictions, and the Dance Ensemble Concert.

Group discounts and morning matinee performances are also available. For tickets or more information, call the Act 1 Box Office at 610-282-3192, or visit