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Every year, our family buys season tickets to Summer Lyric productions at Tulane University in New Orleans. For more than 45 years, they’ve been producing a made-in-America art form—musical theater.

We’ve seen singing nuns march down the aisles in “The Sound of Music,” and anxiously watched Norma Desmond—arms akimbo and eyes wide open—descend the staircase for her final close up in “Sunset Boulevard.”

Each season, three musicals are staged with a live orchestra and amazing casts. Attending these shows is one of the highlights of our summer.

Colleges across the country produce a wide range of theatrical performances from elaborate musicals and classic plays, to the avant-garde and absurd.

To find out what’s playing at a college near you, visit the university’s website and search for its theater or dramatic arts department.

The following schools have announced their 2012-2013 season:

Carnegie Mellon (CMU) — Pittsburgh, PA

The School of Drama Subscribers Series kicks off with a funny and sexy production of “The Rivals,” directed by a guest artist from Britain. The season also includes the Tony award winning “Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches,” the new musical version of “Spring Awakening,” and three modernized versions of Shakespeare plays. Visit the CMU School of Drama website for more information.

Florida State University (FSU) — Tallahassee, FL

The MaGrath sisters are having a particularly bad day in the Pulitzer prize winning, “Crimes of the Heart.” Additional highlights of the season include: “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” “The Monster Under the Bed,” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” Visit the FSU School of Theater website for more information.

California State University (CSU) — Fullerton, CA

Wacky wit and black humor skewers Mom and Dad in “Baby with the Bathwater,” the season opener at California State University. Ticket holders can also see a range of shows from the mature and daring “Metamorphoses,” to the classic musical “Carousel.” Visit the CSU Fullerton Department of Theater & Dance website for more information.

Jim Twardowski, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is a travel writer based in Louisiana. His work has been featured in AAA Home & AwayGlobal Traveler, and QUEST magazines.

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