Our shows

The shows we perform each year

Free Show

The Freshman Free Show is Mask and Wig’s first production of the academic year. As the name indicates, the Free Show is free for all new freshmen. As the first production of the year, the Free Show serves three purposes: to introduce the club to the new freshmen, create a lasting relationship with those in attendance, and to generate interest in the Club’s auditions. The auditions generally take place the day after the Free Show.

For the past several years, the Free Show has been performed in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Zellerbach Auditorium, which seats approximately 1,000 patrons. The Free Show contains bits that are “tried and true,” some of the most loved and classic bits Mask and Wig has to offer. The band also arranges a number of fillers, played between the bits, which are often popular songs from pre-college years. After the Free Show, interested freshmen are invited to a schmoozer with Clubbies at the Mask and Wig clubroom.

Fall Show

Whereas Mask and Wig is primarily known for its Annual Production in the spring, few people are aware that in 1936 the Annual Production took place in the fall.  When the Annual Production eventually shifted back to the spring, Wiggers felt that something was missing.  As a result, undergraduates have felt compelled to produce a half week of shows in the early fall, cleverly dubbed Fall Show.

A photo from the 2014 Fall Show, An Eye for an Island.Although Fall Show prepares its newer members for the Annual Production, it is a different animal completely.  The show takes place on campus at the Iron Gate Theatre as opposed to the Clubhouse.  Instead of a full-length musical comedy, the Fall Show consists of a variety of SNL-style bits that are independent from one another with the exception of the opening bit and the Second Act Opener (SAO).  The SAO is a fully student-produced miniature show-within-a-show, with its own plot and adapted musical covers with choreography.   The opening bit and SAO are tied together through a theme that lends its title to the show and is the inspiration for the set on which all of the bits are performed.  In between bits, the Band plays covers of popular songs that are always a hit with the audience.  The first Fall Show was in 1970 and titled No, But I Read the Cliffnotes.

Fall Show is entirely student-run.  The cast writes a completely original script just a few weeks before the show is performed.  The Band arranges all the music itself, and the Crew builds the set itself, as well.  Every year after the late show on Saturday is complete, well over a thousand people have laughed, and The Mask and Wig Club has once again fulfilled its credo:  “Justice to the stage; credit to the University.”

See a List of All of Our Fall Productions

1970: No… But I Read the Cliffnotes1987: Your Mother2002: Less Miserable
1972: You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Blue Suede Shoe1988: Pippin2003: Donkey Donuts
1973: Don’t Throw Money1989: Sex, Lies, and Masking Tape2004: Waiting for Gutmann
1974: Holding the Bag1990: Saddam and Gomorrah2005: Hogan’s Gyros
1975: [Sic] Humor1991: Male Chauvinist Wig2006: Singin’ in Bahrain
1976: FurKing in the Jungle1992: Debauchery, Debacle and Decandlestickmaker2007: Phallus in Wonderland
1977: All You Can Eat1993: Ah Brutus, You Kill Me2008: Oil Vey!
1978: Parodies Lost1994: Carpe Stouffer2009: Conquistadora the Explorer
1979: Fill ‘er Up1995: Freudian Slip2010: Ra and UnTut
1981: Ring Job1996: Something To Do Before You Get Mugged2011: Mario Brothers, Where Art Thou
1982: Beau Jest1997: What Willis Was Talking About2012: Tights, Camera, Action!
1983: No Eggrolls For Me Thank You I’ve Just Been Vaccinated1998: Bidets of Thunder2013: A State of Confucian
1984: Shooting Stars1999: The End of the World As We Wrote It2014: An Eye for an Island
1985: Eat Wit and Die2000: You are the Wind Beneath My Fingers, Wings and Other Things2015: No Country for Old Penn
1986: What a Drag 2001: Win Ben Stein’s Wife and Kids 2016: Magic Mike and Ike

Annual Production

A photo from the 2015 Annual Production, A Comedy of Terrors.The annual production is a full-length musical comedy written and performed by the undergraduate Club and is the primary theatrical endeavor of Mask and Wig during the year. The first annual production, Lurline or The Knight and the Naiads, was performed to critical acclaim at the Chestnut Street Opera House on June 4th, 1889. In the early days, the annual productions were satires of literary classics, Lurline being based off of Henry Byron’s The Nymphs of the Lurleyburg. The club enjoyed early success, which allowed the institution of an annual tour in 1891.

Originally, the company traveled by train car from destination to destination. Although the train car is no longer used, the annual tour continues.  During tour, the undergraduates perform the annual production across the world; previous tour destinations have included Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, and London. Tour has continued to evolve and is now a vital way for undergraduates to spread the annual production to a wider audience.

The annual production takes place every year from January through April, but production is a yearlong process. Before the current production even finishes, the Club is already hard at work on the next one. Writing for an annual production starts in March and continues all the way through until December. Between the writing, production, rehearsing, and directing, each annual production is the product of thousands of man-hours from the undergraduates and graduates together.

See a List of All of Our Annual Productions

1889: Lurline1932: Ruff Neck1975: Mystery Loves Company
1890: Ben Franklin, Jr.1933: Out of the Blues1976: Is It Yesterday Already?
1891: Miss Columbia1934: Easy Pickens1977: S!R!O!
1892: Mr. and Mrs. Cleopatra1935: Drums Fortissimo1978: Pow! Zowie! Zap!
1893: The Yankee League1936: Red Rhumba1979: You Bet Your Assets
1894: King Arthur1936: This Mad Whirl1980: Daze a Vu
1895: Kenilworth1937: Fifty-Fifty1981: Hire and Higher
1896: No Gentleman of France1938: All Around the Town1981: Between the Covers
1897: Very Little Red Riding Hood1939: Great Guns1983: You Gotta Have Art
1898: The House That Jack Built1940: High as a Kite1984: Urban and Soda
1899: Captain Kidd, U.S.N.1941: Out of this World1985: Irreverence of Things Past
1900: Mr. Aguinaldo of Manila1942: Paoli Local1986: Happily Ever Laughter
1901: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep1944: Red Points and Blue1987: Eureka!? I Hardly Know Ya!
1902: Old King Cole1945: Hep to the Beat1988: Lurline, Again!
1903: Sir Robinson Crusoe1946: John Paul Jones1989: Pun & Crime-ishment
1904: Alice in Anotherland1946: Chris Crosses1990: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wry
1905: Mr. Hamlet of Denmark1947: Juleo and Romiet1991: Around the World in a Daze
1906: Shylock & Co., Bankers1948: Alaska Right Away1992: Myth America
1907: Herr Lohengrin1949: Adamant Eve1993: Westward Who?
1908: Uncle Sam’s Ditch1950: Count Me In!1994: A Sworded Affair
1909: Merely a Monarch1951: Doctor, Dear Doctor!1995: Thugs and Kisses
1910: The Desert of Mahomet1952: Here’s Howe!1996: Hit or Mrs.
1911: Innocents1953: The Golden Fleece1997: Mystery Repeats Itself
1912: Miss Helen of Troy1954: Tempest in a Teapot1998: Blasphemy? Blasphe-you!
1913: Maid in Germany1955: Vamp ‘Till Ready1999: From Here to Maturity
1914: The Royal Arms1956: Ring Around Rosie2000: History in the Faking
1915: Paradise Prison1957: Free For All?2001: All’s Fair in Love and Dwarfs
1916: Whoa Phoebe!1958: Off the Top2002: Star-Spangled Banter
1917: Mr. Rip Van Winkle1959: Wright Side Up2003: Riot on the Set
1918: The Bridal Not1961: Wry on the Rocks2004: All’s Hell That Ends Well
1919: Revue or Revues1962: All at Sea2005: Birth of a Notion
1920: Don Quixote, Esq1963: Where Do We Go From Here?2006: Not Just Another Divine Comedy
1921: Somebody’s Lion1964: Sorry, Charlie, Your Time is Up2007: Troy Story
1922: Tell Tales1965: Listen, They’re Playing Our Song2008: West Wing Story
1923: Here’s Howe1966: About Farce2009: Oh, the Humanities!
1924: That’s That1967: Quick, Before It’s Written2010: A Cheshire Catastrophe
1925: Joan of Arkansas1968: All’s Fair2011: A Volcanic Corruption
1926: A Sale and A Sailor1969: The Devil to Pay2012: A Reptile Dysfunction
1927: Hoot Mon!1970: Wrought Irony2013: Beautopia: A Face Odyssey
1928: Tarantella1971: Who’s Whom2014: Wishful Sinking
1929: This Way Out!1972: Now Listen Hear2015: A Comedy of Terrors
1930: John Faust, Ph.D.1973: Take Ten2016: Flight Club
1931: East Lynne Gone West 1974: Film Flam2017: No Place Like Rome

Floor Shows

Besides the customary Fall and Spring productions, The Mask and Wig Club performs “Floor Shows” for special events, corporate affairs, dinner functions, alumni events, and high school audiences. A floor show consists of several sketches or songs, usually described as “the best of The Mask and Wig Club.” We draw from our large repertoire of bits and musical sketches in order to cater to all ages and tastes. Our attire is as versatile as our material, ranging from jeans to tuxedo. Musical accompaniment ranges from one piano to our Band upon request.

Significant recent performances and clients include the dedication of Riepe College House at Penn, Penn President Amy Gutmann, the 200th Anniversary of Penn’s Engineering School, Penn President Judith Rodin’s inauguration, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Christie’s Auction House of New York, Penn Previews Days for incoming freshmen, The Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, Penn Hillel in New York, Penn Alumni Weekend, and benefits for The Vagina Monologues and the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children.

If you want to book a floor show: Book a Floor Show, Contact Us, or call us at (215) 716-7378.