Top Six Musicals Sewanee Will Never Put On (But It’d Be Cool if They Did)

WAR HORSELondon Cast 2014
WAR HORSE London Cast 2014

Photo courtesy of

David Provost

Staff Writer

1) Jersey Boys: The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons would be beautiful on stage here on the mountain! But all the pros in the biz happen to know that since the 2014 film adaptation, there’s no point in ever performing this show again. Period. Clint Eastwood, who is as gifted at talking to inanimate household furniture as he is at directing heartfelt war movies, perfected all things Jersey Boys. It’s over two hours long, has a 52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (only 48 percent away from 100 percent!) and includes heavy-handed American Italian stereotypes the classic Broadway run could never reach! Go see it now. Stop reading this, please. You really need to see the Jersey Boys (2014) movie!


2) War Horse: Sewanee is a horse-friendly campus but we lack a horse-friendly stage. It’s not impossible to make happen, but Tennessee Williams had an irrational disdain for horses and it’s only right that we respect that. Sewanee’s always been good at perpetuating irrational fears dead people had, so why stop now! It would be easier if War Horse was about a single horse but nope, the script demands a lot of horses in a lot of war being horses, horsin’ around. Maybe we could use puppet horses instead of live-animals… Nah, that’s just weird and impractical!


3) Suessical: This one is close to home because of how close we were to making this one happen. Dress and tech rehearsals went off without a hitch but when a test audience saw the finished product in the early 2000’s, seeing Horton the anxious Elephant and Green Eggs and Ham in the same fictional universe didn’t sit well with Seuss purists. LSD flashbacks were also triggered.


4) Rent: Some of the best Broadway songs of all-time come from this one! Social messages, political satire, urban sprawl– what’s not to love?  To quote the play, “How do you document real life when real life seems more like fiction each day?” Sewanee Theater doesn’t have the answer quite yet. No students have ever had any problems receiving financial aid awards since the musical’s creation in 1993. Not any. Zero. Even the best performers in the department aren’t method enough to pull off the inner-turmoil of a cast facing eviction. The only solution would be to erase financial aid packets for a year in order to create authentic motivation for our actors. Let’s make it happen. #YSRent


5) The Book of Mormon: This is an underground off-off-really freaking off-off Broadway musical drama you probably haven’t heard of before. But Theater Sewanee has wanted to get a hold of this for a while now. The show only ran two and half times before falling into musical theater obscurity. Thankfully, during a New York Outreach Trip I abandoned my responsibilities and peers to go see a show one night. So worth it, damn. It’s what plays are supposed to look like. Sound like. Feel like! I joined the Church of Latter Day Saints during intermission, and that made the next act pretty cool to watch. Super compelling theater, the kind of thing the mainstream is afraid to embrace. Maybe someday Sewanee will do this musical. I believe.
6) Hamilton: There’s not enough black people here.


  1. When I was scanning the Purple to see if Sewanee’s ongoing dissolution of it’s connection with the South and the Confederacy had accelerated in the current revisionist climate, I came across this entertaining article. I especially enjoyed reading that the author, David Provost, had “joined” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (its complete name) between two acts of “The Book of Mormon” musical. When I entered Sewanee in the fall of 1964, I was a recent convert to the L.D.S. Church. At Sewanee, I sang in the choir, was an All Saints Chapel guide, served as a lay reader for the evening services (never well-attended) in the St. Augustine Chapel, and became well-acquainted with Chaplain Collins. Another student, a militant orthodox Episcopalian (do such folk still exist?) who did not tolerate my religious opinions, initiated the only serious fist fight I’ve ever experienced. Unfortunately, it was on the eve of Thanksgiving vacation and I was to have visited the home of another student whose family lived in Savannah. I had to beg off because of some bruising (to my face and my ego) and because my wallet had mysteriously ‘disappeared’ during the altercation. I spent that bleak and dinner-less Thanksgiving considering my options. Although I had looked forward to attending Sewanee for years, I realized I wasn’t a good fit for the school. At the end of the semester, I transferred to B.Y.U. (where else?) “The Book of Mormon” musical has popularized religious bigotry as a form of entertainment. I got a foretaste of it when I was a freshman at Sewanee (and I still haven’t visited Savannah!).

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