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.

Fall Show 2018

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 Cliffnotes 1988: Pippin 2004: Waiting for Gutmann
1972: You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Blue Suede Shoe 1989: Sex, Lies, and Masking Tape 2005: Hogan’s Gyros
1973: Don’t Throw Money 1990: Saddam and Gomorrah 2006: Singin’ in Bahrain
1974: Holding the Bag 1991: Male Chauvinist Wig 2007: Phallus in Wonderland
1975: [Sic] Humor 1992: Debauchery, Debacle and Decandlestickmaker 2008: Oil Vey!
1976: FurKing in the Jungle 1993: Ah Brutus, You Kill Me 2009: Conquistadora the Explorer
1977: All You Can Eat 1994: Carpe Stouffer 2010: Ra and UnTut
1978: Parodies Lost 1995: Freudian Slip 2011: Mario Brothers, Where Art Thou
1979: Fill ‘er Up 1996: Something To Do Before You Get Mugged 2012: Tights, Camera, Action!
1981: Ring Job 1997: What Willis Was Talking About 2013: A State of Confucian
1982: Beau Jest 1998: Bidets of Thunder 2014: An Eye for an Island
1983: No Eggrolls For Me Thank You I’ve Just Been Vaccinated 1999: The End of the World As We Wrote It 2015: No Country for Old Penn
1984: Shooting Stars 2000: You are the Wind Beneath My Fingers, Wings and Other Things  2016: Magic Mike and Ike
1985: Eat Wit and Die  2001: Win Ben Stein’s Wife and Kids  2017: I Am What I Amazon
1986: What a Drag 2002: Less Miserable 2018: Apollo 13 Going on 30
1987: Your Mother 2003: Donkey Donuts

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.

Book of Mermen (2019)

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: Lurline 1933: Out of the Blues 1977: S!R!O!
1890: Ben Franklin, Jr. 1934: Easy Pickens 1978: Pow! Zowie! Zap!
1891: Miss Columbia 1935: Drums Fortissimo 1979: You Bet Your Assets
1892: Mr. and Mrs. Cleopatra 1936: Red Rhumba 1980: Daze a Vu
1893: The Yankee League 1936: This Mad Whirl 1981: Hire and Higher
1894: King Arthur 1937: Fifty-Fifty 1981: Between the Covers
1895: Kenilworth 1938: All Around the Town 1983: You Gotta Have Art
1896: No Gentleman of France 1939: Great Guns 1984: Urban and Soda
1897: Very Little Red Riding Hood 1940: High as a Kite 1985: Irreverence of Things Past
1898: The House That Jack Built 1941: Out of this World 1986: Happily Ever Laughter
1899: Captain Kidd, U.S.N. 1942: Paoli Local 1987: Eureka!? I Hardly Know Ya!
1900: Mr. Aguinaldo of Manila 1944: Red Points and Blue 1988: Lurline, Again!
1901: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep 1945: Hep to the Beat 1989: Pun & Crime-ishment
1902: Old King Cole 1946: John Paul Jones 1990: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wry
1903: Sir Robinson Crusoe 1946: Chris Crosses 1991: Around the World in a Daze
1904: Alice in Anotherland 1947: Juleo and Romiet 1992: Myth America
1905: Mr. Hamlet of Denmark 1948: Alaska Right Away 1993: Westward Who?
1906: Shylock & Co., Bankers 1949: Adamant Eve 1994: A Sworded Affair
1907: Herr Lohengrin 1950: Count Me In! 1995: Thugs and Kisses
1908: Uncle Sam’s Ditch 1951: Doctor, Dear Doctor! 1996: Hit or Mrs.
1909: Merely a Monarch 1952: Here’s Howe! 1997: Mystery Repeats Itself
1910: The Desert of Mahomet 1953: The Golden Fleece 1998: Blasphemy? Blasphe-you!
1911: Innocents 1954: Tempest in a Teapot 1999: From Here to Maturity
1912: Miss Helen of Troy 1955: Vamp ‘Till Ready 2000: History in the Faking
1913: Maid in Germany 1956: Ring Around Rosie 2001: All’s Fair in Love and Dwarfs
1914: The Royal Arms 1957: Free For All? 2002: Star-Spangled Banter
1915: Paradise Prison 1958: Off the Top 2003: Riot on the Set
1916: Whoa-Phoebe! 1959: Wright Side Up 2004: All’s Hell That Ends Well
1917: Mr. Rip Van Winkle 1961: Wry on the Rocks 2005: Birth of a Notion
1918: The Bridal Not 1962: All at Sea 2006: Not Just Another Divine Comedy
1919: Revue of Revues 1963: Where Do We Go From Here? 2007: Troy Story
1920: Don Quixote, Esq 1964: Sorry, Charlie, Your Time is Up 2008: West Wing Story
1921: Somebody’s Lion 1965: Listen, They’re Playing Our Song 2009: Oh, the Humanities!
1922: Tell Tales 1966: About Farce 2010: A Cheshire Catastrophe
1923: Here’s Howe 1967: Quick, Before It’s Written 2011: A Volcanic Corruption
1924: That’s That 1968: All’s Fair 2012: A Reptile Dysfunction
1925: Joan of Arkansas 1969: The Devil to Pay 2013: Beautopia: A Face Odyssey
1926: A Sale and A Sailor 1970: Wrought Irony 2014: Wishful Sinking
1927: Hoot Mon! 1971: Who’s Whom 2015: A Comedy of Terrors
1928: Tarantella 1972: Now Listen Hear 2016: Flight Club
1929: This Way Out! 1973: Take Ten 2017: No Place Like Rome
1930: John Faust, Ph.D. 1974: Film Flam 2018: Juice Box Hero
1931: East Lynne Gone West 1975: Mystery Loves Company 2019: The Book of Mermen
1932: Ruff Neck 1976: Is It Yesterday Already?

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.