New York Philharmonic — Mar. 7, Hill Auditorium

Something extraordinary happens when a collection of woodwind, brass, string and percussion instruments gather together, and it transcends explanation. The New York Philharmonic is among the best at putting together an ensemble of instruments and leaving an audience overwhelmed and breathless. Fortunately, after a flawless showcasing of Mendelssohn’s “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” the audience at Hill Auditorium found a way to muster up a more than sufficient reaction to merit a two-song encore and gave America’s oldest orchestra the appreciation it truly deserved.

—David Riva

“Richard II” — Oct. 23-24, Duderstadt Video Center

In the Rude Mechanicals’ polished adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, director James Manganello, an LSA senior, updated the history play to a period closer to the Industrial Revolution than the end of the 14th century. Bowler hats and trench coats were combined with video projections of Russian montage films to create a new setting for the English political figures. Incredibly well-acted, “Richard II” was an ensemble piece featuring moving performances by even the actors with the fewest lines. But of course the play ultimately belongs to the title character, and LSA senior Alexandra Clement-Jones tackled the meaty role to sympathetically portray the king’s transition from throne to prison cell.

—Molly Mcguire

“Me and My Dick” — Oct. 30-31, Walgreen Drama Center

The Old Snatch, Miss Cooter and Dick — these were just a few of the characters in Basement Arts’s newest original musical comedy. No, “Me and My Dick” was not your conventional stage performance, but that’s what made it stand out so much. The play could have succeeded on its innovative concept and side-splitting script alone. But its genuine treatment of a delicate subject by a dynamic cast allowed for a unique perspective on the emotional and physical pains of growing up.

David Riva

“HAIR” — Nov. 20-22, Power Center

From the sultry “Aquarius” to the hopeful and heartbreaking finale, the cast of MUSKET’s “HAIR” brought a controlled, sharp intensity and earnestness to the psychedelic tale of sexual freedom, political activism and drug experimentation. Everything about this performance was in tune with the core themes of “HAIR” — the costumes, the choreography and staging, the cast, the set and the music all demanded constant attention. All these tech specs melded together to say “We’re here and we’re going to talk to you about life, so sit back and absorb the spectacle.”

—Leah Burgin

“Macbeth” — Dec. 10-13, Power Center

Darkness and chaos reigned in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s production of “Macbeth” this December. Standouts included charismatic Music, Theatre & Dance junior Joey Richter as Banquo and Music, Theatre & Dance junior Anna Robinson, whose Lady Macbeth slipped gradually into insanity. But the real star was the setting, with the characters’ World War I military costumes serving as the only semblance of order in a world of crumbling walls, moaning hospital patients and lots of machine-brewed fog. The witches’ scenes were particularly effective thanks to a Halloween Auto-Tune device that lent an inhuman quality to the actors’ voices.

—Sharon Jacobs

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