Sunday in the Park with George | Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble (MUSE)

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of being trapped in a conversation with someone emphatically asking, “What does art do? What is the point of it?” Or maybe you’ve been the one doing the trapping. Either way, it became a desperate, high-stakes question when the COVID-19 pandemic began ripping through the art scene in 2020 and Australian artists were hung out to dry without their audiences. And, yet, the question of art’s purpose stretches back centuries, as illustrated in this second production of the year from the Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble.

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Falsettos | Theatre & Company

Despite beginning a gay relationship, leaving his family, and having his wife marry his psychiatrist, Marvin is determined to maintain his tight-knit Jewish family even if it means cold shoulders around the menorah. The final two acts of a one-act musical trilogy combine to tell the story of a not-so-normal family and its not-so-nice head.

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Little Miss Sunshine | New Theatre

Image by Bob Seary

The attitude of splitting people into winners and losers is a distinctly American phenomena that inspired Michael Arndt’s screenplay about the Hoover family, a band of misfits fighting against the belief that they are exemplary losers. Adapted into a musical by James Lapine and William Finn, Little Miss Sunshine follows this bland family in their bright yellow VW van from New Mexico to California for the competition of their lives.

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