MSUToday
Published: Dec. 2, 2019

MSU Theatre freshman class serves up end-of-semester laughs

Contact(s): Abigail Tykocki College of Arts and Letters atykocki@msu.edu

The freshman class of Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre will celebrate the end of their first semester at college with five performances of hilarious “improvisational” comedy. “Freshman Showcase: The Power of Spontaneous Invention” runs Dec. 5 through 8 in the MSU Auditorium building’s Studio 60 Theater. 

While this is the 13th year for the Freshman Showcase, this year marks the second year that the focus has been to train the freshman class in the art of short form improvisational comedy.

The students will take suggestions from the audience to create scenes, songs and games in the style of the hit show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Unlike the show, they won’t be competing against each other for points; instead, they will be working together as an ensemble to make their audiences laugh.

Director and MSU faculty member Sarah Hendrickson has worked as a professional improviser, actress, instructor and producer in Chicago, including as a member of The Second City Music House Ensemble. 

“Our freshmen are brave, they are bold, they are powerful, they are taking risks, they are embracing failure, they are challenging themselves and growing as artists and people,” Hendrickson said. “They are forging lasting, meaningful connections to a supportive network that encourages them to follow their dreams.”

To ensure each student enjoys ample stage time, the class of 20 performers is divided into small groups. No group performs together more than once, and every show will be completely different from the rest.

“One of the goals of producing this show is to help acclimate our freshmen to their new lives and the things that are expected of them as newly minted adults,” Hendrickson said. “They have spent their first semester here at MSU and the Department of Theatre learning how to improvise, both onstage and off.”

Tickets are $13 for general admission, $11 for seniors and MSU faculty/staff, $10 for MSU students and are available online at whartoncenter.com, at the Wharton Center box office or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.

For more information on the individual performances, teams and showtimes, see the event page, available here.