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Suit Up! CMU 2020-21 Theatre and Dance Season begins with children's show Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

CMU Theatre's 2020-21 season is themed Suit Up! and will kick off with the children's musical, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: the Rock Experience. Based on the children’s book by Mo Willems, the show revolves around Wilbur the naked mole rat who is not your average naked mole rat. When he discovers a love for clothing and dares to be different, his passion turns his community upside down. The musical is directed by Jeremy Franklin and stars CMU senior Murphy Baker as Wilbur. 

In order to comply with social distancing standards and to offer audience members options for viewing, Naked Mole Rat will be presented in two formats. The musical will run live in the Moss Performing Arts Center Robinson Theatre from September 17 through 26 with limited seating capacity to allow for distancing between parties and between the audience and the cast. The cast will also film the show for viewers to stream into their homes and into District 51 schools. 

The opportunity of conducting rehearsals within the guidelines outlined in CMU’s Safe Together Strong Together return to campus plan has been met with innovation as the cast has come together to prepare for the first show of the season. Director Jeremy Franklin has faced the unique challenge of staging the musical in such a way as to keep cast members distanced from one another while still telling a compelling story. All rehearsals and vocal coaching is done while everyone involved is masked. Students use special vocal masks that allow for more space for breathing while fitting more closely to the face in order to limit aerosol spread from singing. Once the show goes live, the cast will will unmask and will be at least 25 feet from the closest audience member.

“History shows that art is at its best during times of trial and this current environment we face is no exception,” said Franklin. “We have created production innovations that will serve us in the future and that have pushed our students as artists to stretch their potential. I can’t wait for people to see the fruits of the hard work and effort.”

Given the uncertainty around public gatherings for the coming months, each production during this season will be given individual consideration; therefore, season tickets will not be offered this year. Patrons are encouraged to visit the CMU theatre website and opt in to receive email announcements for individual ticket sales. Additionally, patrons who are interested in supporting the theatre are encouraged to join the Bravo Club, the theatre's donor circle. A new level of membership has been added, allowing those who wish only to stream digital productions into their homes this year to pledge their support and to view each of the six main stage productions.

Information and tickets can be found at