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Theatre Department Production Calendar

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ESU Theatre 2022 Season

The Underpants

By Carl Sternheim & Adapted by Steve Martin

A Summer Sex Farce • Directed by Pete Rydberg

Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre •

August 24-27, 2022

9-24: 7:30pm | 9-25: 7:30pm | 9-26: 7:30pm | 9-27 2:00pm & 7:30pm

A guffaw-inducing comedy from the wild and crazy mind of the incomparable Steve Martin. It's 1910 in Düsseldorf. The placid, conservative life of Theo and Louise Maske is thrown into chaos when Louise’s drawers fall down during the town parade. Sidesplitting chaos ensues as the newlyweds, who have been trying to rent a room in their flat, face an influx of unprincipled prospective male lodgers, each eager to catch a glimpse of the now infamous pair of underpants. Based on the German farce by Carl Sternheim, THE UNDERPANTS skewers the absurdity of instant fame. Das ist funny!

ESU 2022-2023 Theatre Season:


Book by Rupert Holmes, Lyrics by Fred Ebb, Music by John Kander

A Musical ‘Who-done-it?’: Musical Comedy • Directed by Pete Rydberg

Karl C. Bruder Theatre •

October 27-30, 2022

10-27: 7:30pm | 10-28: 7:30pm | 10-29: 7:30pm | 10-30: 2:00pm

A backstage musical comedy murder mystery set in a Boston theatre in the 1950s. The leading lady has been murdered during the curtain call and homicide detective (and musical theatre aficionado) Frank Cioffi is called in to investigate. Bodies begin to pile up as the cast shrinks and everyone is a suspect. Packed with glorious tunes and a witty, charming script filled with delightful characters, CURTAINS is a hilarious journey for both performers and the audience. The Broadway production garnered 8 nominations at the 2007 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza • Translated by Christopher Hampton

‘Responsible parenting’ spins into chaos: Dark Comedy • Directed by Jim Harris

Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre •

December 1-4, 2022

12-1: 7:30pm | 12-2: 7:30pm | 12-3: 7:30pm | 12-4: 2:00pm

A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters. A comedy of manners...without the manners. Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play.

How I Learned to Drive

by Paula Vogel

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize: Drama • Directed by Jim Harris

Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre •

March 23-26, 2023

3-23: 7:30pm | 3-24: 7:30pm | 3-25: 7:30pm | 3-26: 2:00pm

A wildly funny, surprising, and devastating tale of survival as seen through the lens of a troubling relationship between a young girl and an older man. HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE is the story of a woman who learns the rules of the road and life from behind the wheel. Themes of sexual abuse, incest, and pedophilia. Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Love for Love

By William Congreve • Adapted by Dennis Turney, Jr. and Kevin Rabas

A Restoration disco-glam mashup: Comedy • Directed by Dennis Turney, Jr

Karl C. Bruder Theatre •

April 27-30, 2023

4-27: 7:30pm | 4-28: 7:30pm | 4-29: 7:30pm | 4-30: 2:00pm

William Congreve pokes satirical fun at the tittle tattle, vanity, scandalous behavior, and extravagance of the fashionable set. In this witty farce, love and money square off as two brothers attempt to follow their hearts without losing their inheritance. Adapted and directed by ESU Theatre Professor Dennis Turney, Jr., this witty Restoration comedy is transported to Studio 54 at the height of the disco era.

ESU 2023 Summer Season:

Ride the Cyclone

Music, lyrics and book by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell

A Musical Fantasy: Dark Comedy • Directed by Pete Rydberg

Karl C. Bruder Theatre •

June 22-25, 2023

6-22: 7:30pm | 6-23: 7:30pm | 6-24: 7:30pm | 6-25: 2:00pm

When life goes off the rails, we discover what really matters. Six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir take one last ride on a rollercoaster that changes the course of each of their lives forever. At once quirky and smart, edgy and beautiful, RIDE THE CYCLONE ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit. “High-spirited and just plain fun from start to finish.” — New York Times

Ticket Information


  • General Audiences: $18
  • ESU Employees and Senior Citizens: $15
  • Student (any): Free
  • Guild members get 15% off tickets

Please let us know if any of your party may be accommodated for mobility/accessibility.

If you have any questions, please contact our Theatre Administrator Denisha Seiter at or by calling 620-341-5256.

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Theatre Guild

Consider joining the Theatre Guild and supporting ESU Theatre! The Emporia Theatre Guild serves as a “friends of the theatre” social club, committed to celebrating the arts through attending theatre productions, and extending the experience through social events fueled by friends, food, and cocktails. Learn more on the Theatre Guild page.