Joan Herrington, the chair of the WMU Theater Department, talks with Cara Lieurance about the eight upcoming productions by living playwrights in the 2021-22 season, and how the department changed its decision-making process to prioritize diverse viewpoints and student input.
Up first is the newly commissioned Lys, by Sam Mueller, a re-envisioning of Lysistrata set in 2030. It features non-binary relationships instead of the female-vversus-male dynamic of the original. Both Lys and the second production -- the Sondheim musical Into The Woods -- will be staged in an intimate outdoor amphitheater sheltered between Shaw Theater and Miller Auditorium. Herrington runs down the rest of the season, which will be staged indoors with socially-distanced seating and required masking as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. It includes Lynn Nottage's Sweat, the comedy Significant Other, Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank's The Exonerated, Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcom, and Head Over Heels The Musical, featuring the songs of the Go-Go's.