During the academic year, students in our Conservatory and Ensemble programs perform full-scale musicals – either in our intimate, 142-seat Christopher and Dana Reeve Studio Theatre or the larger Lerner Family Theatre. These programs require an intensive commitment spanning one semester to two years and require an audition. Below are examples of last year’s performances.


Learn more about this year’s shows and upcoming auditions for the Conservatory and Ensemble Programs. 


Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR. 

January 11-12 at 7:30
January 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the IStage Performance Ensemble

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Music Adapted and Arranged by David Weinstein

Directed by John Eby
Music Directed by Piero Bonamico
Choreographed by Amelia Nickles

Please note that this is a student production taking place on our Lerner Family Theatre stage.

Recommended for audiences in grade 4+


Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories, Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR. is an enchanting look at the sacrifices we all make for love and acceptance. In a magical underwater kingdom, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home – and her fins – behind and live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father, King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been seeking.


O, Wonder! A Tempest Tale

March 1-2 at 7:30 p.m.
March 3 at 6:00 p.m.

Presented by the Pegasus Ensemble
Written by James Lex
Based on The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kirsten Grorud

Tickets on sale February 1


O, Wonder! follows a motley group of characters who have found themselves shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Prospero, ruler of the land and former duke of Milan, sets out to seek revenge on his brother who exiled him many years ago. The plan goes awry when his daughter, Miranda, falls for the prince. This tale – complete with magic and music – explores greed and first love on a turbulent island where every character is bound to discover something new. 



The Secret in the Wings

March 29-30 at 7:30 p.m.
March 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the IStage Performance Ensemble
Written by Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Nikki Kaplan
Assistant Directed by Alison Gee
Choreographed by Sara Herrera

Tickets on sale February 28


This play adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a theatrical work that sets their dark mystery against Mary Zimmerman’s signature wit and humor. The framing story concerns a child and the frightening babysitter with whom her parents leave her. As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one.


Failure: A Love Story

April 26-27  at 7:30 p.m.
April 28  at 6:00 p.m.

Presented by the Acting Conservatory (Graduating Class of 2019)
Written by Philip Dawkins

Tickets on sale March 26


By the end of 1928, all three Fail sisters will be dead — expiring in reverse order, youngest to oldest, from blunt object to the head, disappearance, and finally consumption. Tuneful songs, and a whimsical chorus follow the story of Nelly, Jenny June, and Gerty as they live out their lives above the family clock repair shop near the Chicago River, before their time unexpectedly runs out. A magical, musical fable where, in the end, the power of love is far greater than any individual’s successes or failures.


Through the Looking Glass
IStage Dance Theatre Performance
May 2-3, 2019
Choreographed by Ashlee McKinnon


An intensive, performance-based ensemble of advanced dancers work together to present an original modern dance in the Spring semester. The show is a presentation of student choreography as well as an original work by McKinnon. Check back soon for more details about this year’s modern dance performance!


Improv Night at Imagination Stage
Date TBD

Featuring the IStage Improv Troupe


Join us for a night of laughs as our Teen Improv Troupe joins college/adult improv troupes from the DC theatre & comedy scene! Each team performs a set in the long form Harold style, using one word from the audience as a jumping off point to create 15 minutes of scenes and characters, all without any kind of script. The night ends with all teams combining for a “Jam,” seeing what happens when teens and adults improvise together! The Teen Improv Troupe is an audition-based program for students in grades 9-12 to explore advanced character creation and improvised storytelling while honing rapier-like wit.


Flight of the Lawnchair Man

May 17-18 at 7:30 p.m.
May 19 at 6:00 p.m.

Presented by the Musical Theatre Conservatory (Graduating Class of 2019)
Concept, Lyrics, and Music Composition by Robert Lindsey-Nassif
Book by Peter Ullian

Tickets on sale April 17


Jerry Gorman is a regular guy from Passaic, New Jersey who just wants to fly. The neighbors think he’s nutty and his mother disapproves. But his girlfriend Gracie believes in him. Loosely based on a true story, Jerry soars to 16,000 feet with nothing but a lawnchair and 400 helium balloons. Flight of the Lawnchair Man is a musical that reminds us that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself.


Original World Premiere

May 31-June 1 at 7:30 p.m.
June 2 at 3:00 p.m.

Written by James Lex
Conceived and Performed by the Speak Out on Stage Ensemble

Directed by Tyler Herman

Music and Lyrics Composed and Directed by Jonathan Kirby

Tickets on sale April 30


Speak Out on Stage (SOOS) decelops new musicals for young performers! The actors in this program are given the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas to help create fun, dramatic, and insightful new works. This is your chance to “Speak Out” about what’s important to you! 

Description and title for the 2019 SOOS production coming soon!