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Drama, music and more on USC stages

A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream, one of last year's USC stage productions (Photo/Courtesy of Craig Schwartz)

“If you’ve got a rich imagination, give it a whirl; give it a try!”

The boys of Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, one of the academic year’s upcoming stage productions, know the excitement in thinking of new possibilities, but you don’t need a rich imagination when talented and captivating performers from the USC School of Dramatic Arts take the stage.

The school recently released its schedule of productions for the 2012-13 academic year, and it promises to be a good one.

Beginning next month, the school will put on a whopping nine productions during the fall semester.

The first two shows of the year — The Country Club by Douglas Carter Beane and 12 Ophelias by Caridad Svich — begin Oct. 4. The former focuses on a neurotic young woman; the latter follows the adventures of Shakespeare’s Ophelia in an Appalachian setting. A week later, The Rimers of Eldritch delves into the murder trial of a resident in Eldritch, Mo.

Wrapping up the month is Crimes of the Heart, a tragic comedy about the Magrath sisters, three women who were raised in a dysfunctional family. Confident and reckless Meg, alongside sisters Lenny, an anxious introvert, and Babe, a temperamental flirt, reunite in a small town in Mississippi, where they each face old pains and tackle new struggles in a grave yet somehow humorous way.

November brings four more productions, including Top Girls, an intriguing story for anyone curious about the ever-changing role of women in today’s society. Written by Caryl Churchill, one of England’s most skilled female playwrights, Top Girls examines what it means to be a successful woman.

Also in November: An Absolute Turkey, the celebrated French farce by Georges Feydeau, and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Short Plays by Tennessee Williams.

Rounding out the month is the Wild West drama Flyin’ West by African-American author Pearl Cleage. Highlighting the unique history of African-American pioneers, Cleage creates four dynamic female characters — all former slaves — who are strong, determined and relatable. When the women’s expectations clash with reality, audiences are forced to face questions of past intolerance and present-day prejudice.

In a whimsical end to a dramatic fall season, A Wonderland of Dance will be the semester’s sole dance concert. The production, which begins Dec. 6, takes audiences on a lively journey down the rabbit hole and into the colorful world of Wonderland with the USC Repertory Dance Company.

The spring semester brings an equally ambitious schedule with more than a dozen works, including shows by George Bernard Shaw (Getting Married) and Loesser (The Most Happy Fella), as well as several MFA and BFA workshops and showcases.

For a complete schedule of performances, visit bit.ly/USCDramaticArts

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