Fresno State’s 2021-22 season includes ‘RENT,’ ‘Man of God,’ ‘This is Our Youth’ and more

After a valiant pandemic-era season that turned the Fresno State theater and dance program into a mini-movie studio of sorts, the department announced a 2021-22 lineup that will be live and in person.

The season includes four Fresno premieres, a 25th anniversary production of “RENT,” and the annual Contemporary Dance Ensemble concert. Both seasoned playwrights and young, up-and-coming playwrights are featured. Here’s the lineup, with descriptions by the department:

‘Man of God’

By Anna Ouyang Moench
Directed by Thomas-Whit Ellis
Opens Oct. 1

During a mission trip to Thailand, four girls discover that their pastor has hidden a camera in their hotel bathroom. Samantha is personally wounded that Pastor would do this to her. Jen is worried about how this might affect her college applications. Kyung-Hwa thinks everyone needs to have lower expectations for men.

And Mimi’s out for blood, as usual. Their communal rage and disillusionment fuel increasingly violent revenge fantasies amidst the
no-holds-barred neon bubblegum sex-tourism mecca of Bangkok.

“Man of God” is a funny feminist thriller about that moment when
girls realize the male gaze has been watching all along—and decide they’re definitely gonna do something about it. Fresno premiere.


‘This is Our Youth’

By Kenneth Lonergan
Directed by Brad Myers
Opens Oct. 29

In meticulous, hilarious, and agonizing detail, “This is Our Youth” follows 48 hours of three very lost young souls in the big city at the dawn of the Reagan Era: Warren Straub, a dejected 19-year-old who steals fifteen thousand dollars from his abusive lingerie-tycoon father; Dennis Ziegler, the charismatic domineering drug-dealing friend who helps him put the money to good use; and Jessica Goldman, the anxiously insightful young woman Warren yearns for.

Funny, painful, and compassionate, “This is Our Youth” is a living snapshot of the moment between adolescence and adulthood. Fresno premiere.


By Seth Bockley and Anne Hamburger
Directed by Kathleen McKinley
Opens Dec. 3

“Wilderness” is a pulsating documentary theatre piece that speaks to our collective search for connection and hope, as families survive the extraordinary pressures and complexities that accompany coming of age in 21st-century America. It is anchored by six real families’ stories—narratives that explore issues of mental health, addiction, and gender and sexual identity.

In “Wilderness,” adolescents stand at the brink of emotional chaos, lost in social stigma, insecurity, aggression, and anger. Parents risk losing their children forever. Thoughts race. Emotions fire. Isolation intensifies. One question emerges: How do we persevere when we feel most alone in the world? Fresno premiere.

Contemporary Dance Ensemble

Kenneth Balint, artistic director
Opens Feb. 18

This annual contemporary dance concert highlights contemporary classics, creative innovation, and collaborations between students and faculty. This year, the concert celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble at Fresno State.

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By Luis Alfaro
Directed by Gina Sandi-Diaz
Opens March 25

In the years following the murder of her father by her mother, Electricidad is committed to vengeance. To get it, she’ll need her brother, Orestes, to return from Las Vegas and help her finish the job. Transporting Sophocles’ Electra to the Los Angeles barrios, Luis Alfaro investigates violence, loss, and redemption through the lens of this age-old tragedy. Fresno premiere.


By Jonathan Larson
Directed by J. Daniel Herring
Opens May 6

Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s “RENT” follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The physical and emotional complications of the disease pervade the lives of Roger, Mimi, Tom and Angel. Maureen deals with her chronic infidelity through performance art; her partner, Joanne, wonders if their relationship is worth the trouble. Benny has sold out his Bohemian ideals in exchange for a hefty income and is on the outs with his former friends. Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, feels like an outsider to life in general. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical. 25th Anniversary production.

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (2)

  • Steph

    Amazing line-up. Stunningly good!

  • Jackie Ryle

    Thank you for this wonderful overview, Donald. It’s so good to know what to look forward to and be able to schedule to see and experience as much as possible


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