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UW Theatre and Dance Season Continues with Protest Comedy

November 8, 2017
three people standing together
Dustin Petrillo, Aili McLellan and Justen Glover act out a scene in “Fascism! The Musical,” which will be presented by the UW Department of Theatre and Dance Nov. 14-19 on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. (Don Turner Photo)

Does the current sociopolitical scene have you down? Need a breather from social media bubbles? Wondering if the First Amendment is going down the tubes? The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance has the show for you, say the play’s producers.

“Fascism! The Musical” is a new, in-your-face political satire from the creators of “Angry Psycho Princesses,” UW playwright-in-residence William Missouri Downs and musical theater faculty member Sean Stone.

Directed by Downs and performance faculty member Kevin Inouye, with musical direction by Stone, “Fascism! The Musical” runs Tuesday-Saturday, Nov. 14-18, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage.

Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for seniors and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.

“Fascism! The Musical” is a protest comedy, part of one of the longest-standing traditions in the theater. From Aristophanes’ ancient and outrageous anti-war comedy “Lysistrata” to the 1960s counterculture rock musical “Hair,” protest theater is written to oppose perceived injustices, voice disapproval and speak for the disempowered in an attempt to facilitate conversation, Stone says.

“I’m shocked by what people consider controversial today,” Downs says. “So, this is a musical as crazy as the times we live in. We thought about calling it, ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Plutocracy,’ but ‘Fascism! The Musical’ was just catchier.”

Provocative, irreverent and bawdy, the musical contains songs that make fun of trickle-down economics, student loan debt, socialism, capitalism and the influence of corporations on the U.S. government and media.

The company invites all who dare to come hear Ayn Rand sing of the virtues of selfishness; join the professors’ barbershop quartet as they harmonize about the joys of guns on campus and dance the polka with the socialism singers; and laugh as actors celebrate the few scraps of freedom of speech left in this politically correct world, Downs says.

While Downs notes that the musical presents a particular point of view, its main point is to get people talking and listening to one another about the issues raised in the play, but also about what freedom of speech and expression mean in an age of “fake news” and ubiquitous “safe” spaces.

As a piece of protest theater, “Fascism! The Musical” contains language and ideas that are not suitable for children.


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