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. After the Free Show, interested freshmen are invited to a schmoozer with Clubbies at the Mask and Wig clubroom. The auditions generally take place in the days 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.

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, members of the company 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.

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 of 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 which also gives the show its title

and comes to life in 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 writers assemble a completely original script just a few weeks before the show is performed.  The Band selects and arranges all the music.  The Crew designs and builds the set, as well as all of the show’s other technical elements. And, the Business Staff ensures that the show is financed, marketed, and attended. 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 Cliffnotes1989: Sex, Lies, and Masking Tape2006: Singin’ in Bahrain
1972: You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Blue Suede Shoe1990: Saddam and Gomorrah2007: Phallus in Wonderland
1973: Don’t Throw Money1991: Male Chauvinist Wyg2008: Oil Vey!
1974: Holding the Bag1992: Debauchery, Debacle and Decandlestickmaker2009: Conquistadora the Explorer
1975: [Sic] Humor1993: Ah Brutus, You Kill Me2010: Ra and UnTut
1976: FurKing in the Jungle1994: Carpe Stouffer2011: Mario Brothers, Where Art Thou
1977: All You Can Eat1995: Freudian Slip2012: Tights, Camera, Action!
1978: Parodies Lost1996: Something To Do Before You Get Mugged2013: A State of Confucian
1979: Fill ‘er Up1997: What Willis Was Talking About2014: An Eye for an Island
1981: Ring Job1998: Bidets of Thunder2015: No Country for Old Penn
1982: Beau Jest1999: The End of the World As We Wrote It2016: Magic Mike and Ike
1983: No Eggrolls For Me Thank You I’ve Just Been Vaccinated2000: You are the Wind Beneath My Fingers, Wings and Other Things2017: I Am What I Amazon
1984: Shooting Stars2001: Win Ben Stein’s Wife and Kids2018: Apollo 13 Going on 30
1985: Eat Wit and Die2002: Less Miserable2019: Frights of the Round Table
1986: What a Drag2003: Donkey Donuts2021: A Yarrr is Born
1987: Your Mother2004: Waiting for Gutmann2022: Better Call Y’all
1988: Pippin2005: Hogan’s Gyros

Annual Production

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 Undergraduate writers come together to write the book, while production leans on the combined efforts of the full club and theater professionals for production, direction, choreography, scenic design, and costuming. 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: Lurline1934: Easy Pickens1979: You Bet Your Assets
1890: Ben Franklin, Jr.1935: Drums Fortissimo1980: Daze a Vu
1891: Miss Columbia1936: Red Rhumba1981: Hire and Higher
1892: Mr. and Mrs. Cleopatra1936: This Mad Whirl1981: Between the Covers
1893: The Yankee League1937: Fifty-Fifty1983: You Gotta Have Art
1894: King Arthur1938: All Around the Town1984: Urban and Soda
1895: Kenilworth1939: Great Guns1985: Irreverence of Things Past
1896: No Gentleman of France1940: High as a Kite1986: Happily Ever Laughter
1897: Very Little Red Riding Hood1941: Out of this World1987: Eureka!? I Hardly Know Ya!
1898: The House That Jack Built1942: Paoli Local1988: Lurline, Again!
1899: Captain Kidd, U.S.N.1944: Red Points and Blue1989: Pun & Crime-ishment
1900: Mr. Aguinaldo of Manila1945: Hep to the Beat1990: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wry
1901: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep1946: John Paul Jones1991: Around the World in a Daze
1902: Old King Cole1946: Chris Crosses1992: Myth America
1903: Sir Robinson Crusoe1947: Juleo and Romiet1993: Westward Who?
1904: Alice in Anotherland1948: Alaska Right Away1994: A Sworded Affair
1905: Mr. Hamlet of Denmark1949: Adamant Eve1995: Thugs and Kisses
1906: Shylock & Co., Bankers1950: Count Me In!1996: Hit or Mrs.
1907: Herr Lohengrin1951: Doctor, Dear Doctor!1997: Mystery Repeats Itself
1908: Uncle Sam’s Ditch1952: Here’s Howe!1998: Blasphemy? Blasphe-you!
1909: Merely a Monarch1953: The Golden Fleece1999: From Here to Maturity
1910: The Desert of Mahomet1954: Tempest in a Teapot2000: History in the Faking
1911: Innocents1955: Vamp ‘Till Ready2001: All’s Fair in Love and Dwarfs
1912: Miss Helen of Troy1956: Ring Around Rosie2002: Star-Spangled Banter
1913: Maid in Germany1957: Free For All?2003: Riot on the Set
1914: The Royal Arms1958: Off the Top2004: All’s Hell That Ends Well
1915: Paradise Prison1959: Wright Side Up2005: Birth of a Notion
1916: Whoa-Phoebe!1961: Wry on the Rocks2006: Not Just Another Divine Comedy
1917: Mr. Rip Van Winkle1962: All at Sea2007: Troy Story
1918: The Bridal Not1963: Where Do We Go From Here?2008: West Wing Story
1919: Revue of Revues1964: Sorry, Charlie, Your Time is Up2009: Oh, the Humanities!
1920: Don Quixote, Esq1965: Listen, They’re Playing Our Song2010: A Cheshire Catastrophe
1921: Somebody’s Lion1966: About Farce2011: A Volcanic Corruption
1922: Tell Tales1967: Quick, Before It’s Written2012: A Reptile Dysfunction
1923: Here’s Howe1968: All’s Fair2013: Beautopia: A Face Odyssey
1924: That’s That1969: The Devil to Pay2014: Wishful Sinking
1925: Joan of Arkansas1970: Wrought Irony2015: A Comedy of Terrors
1926: A Sale and A Sailor1971: Who’s Whom2016: Flight Club
1927: Hoot Mon!1972: Now Listen Hear2017: No Place Like Rome
1928: Tarantella1973: Take Ten2018: Juice Box Hero
1929: This Way Out!1974: Film Flam2019: The Book of Mermen
1930: John Faust, Ph.D.1975: Mystery Loves Company2020: Our Father Who Aren’t in Heaven
1931: East Lynne Gone West1976: Is It Yesterday Already?2022: Born in the USB
1932: Ruff Neck1977: S!R!O!2023: A Doomsday in the Life
1933: Out of the Blues1978: Pow! Zowie! Zap!

Floor Shows and Band Performances

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.

A Very Quaker HolidaySignificant recent performances and clients include A Very Quaker Holiday at Carnegie Hall, 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.

Blutt BandslamOutside of playing as our pit orchestra and interlude musicians for our productions, the Band performs around campus and beyond. The Band regularly performs a rotating setlist of cover songs in a variety of styles for formals, parties, and other gatherings. The Mask and Wig Band is annually featured at University events including Spring Fling and the NSO Museum Toga Party. Each year they headline the student stage during Spring Fling performing an hour-long set of covers of popular music with members of the Cast and female vocalists from other Penn performing arts groups. In 2018 and 2014 the Band was the winner of the Blutt Band Slam.

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