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Wisconsin premiere

Music & Lyrics by William Finn, Book by James Lapine

August 17, 18, 23, 24, and 25 at 7:30 p.m.

August 19 at 2:00 p.m.

UW Play Circle, Wisconsin Union, 800 Langdon St. 2nd floor

Directed by Meghan Randolph
Music Direction by Mark Wurzelbacher

Choreography by Marsha Heuer

Flooding Update: The City of Madison has issued a flood warning for the east side and Isthmus.  The campus and University Avenue areas are clear, so we plan to perform Little Miss Sunshine as planned.  Please exercise caution if you plan to see the show on 8/24 or 8/25.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to the theatre; if you're early, there are plenty of dining options on site and a bar with wine and beer, so there is something to do while you wait! The Union Theater is unable to offer refunds, but if you paid for a ticket and are unable to make the performance, e-mail and we will see what we can do for you.  Parking may also be a bit tricky as the City has opened its public lots to those affected by flooding.  Please click here for parking options. (Most of the parking near the Union is owned by the University, not the city.) Stay safe! 

"You can pick a shampoo, you can pick who you screw, but you can't pick your family." 

The Hoover family is having some issues. Dad’s a struggling entrepreneur. Mom’s trying to pay the bills, Uncle Frank has lost his lover and his job, Grandpa got kicked out of the retirement home. And teenage Dwayne hasn’t spoken in three months. But when quirky, 8-year-old Olive is a finalist in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, they attempt to put their troubles aside, climbing into a dilapidated van and driving cross country to get her to the competition. Based on the 2006 Academy Award-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is a hilarious, heartfelt tale about self-acceptance, true beauty, and what it means to be a winner.


"A big winner....shows how adept Director/producer Meghan Randolph is at making odd little musicals shine...packed with so much heart."  -Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus


Planning Your Visit

Running Time: Little Miss Sunshine runs 95 minutes with no intermission.  Patrons are welcome to get up during the performance, just please be aware of actors entering and exiting. 

Tickets:  Tickets prices vary by date and age level. Use the chart below to see pricing.  Tickets can be purchased in one of three ways: 

  • Order online here (fees apply)

  • Call the Campus Arts Box Office at 608-265-ARTS (fees apply)

  • Visit the box office at the Union during business hours or starting one hour before each performance (no fees). 

Please note: Tickets purchased online or by phone include a $4.00 per ticket convenience fee paid the Wisconsin Union Theater (fees are not included in the chart below)  This fee can be avoided by purchasing in person. 

Box office services are provided through the Campus Arts Box Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Click here to see their hours and policies. 

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE prices (fees not included)

Parking:  There are over 2500 parking spots within a five minute walk of the Union.  Click here for complete information. 

Location: The Play Circle is located on the second floor of the Memorial Union.  Enter through the doors at the corner of Park and Langdon Streets.  The box office is on your left, past the information desk.  The elevator to the second floor is on  your right.  The stairs just inside the door will take you to other parts of the building to enjoy dining and drinks before the performance.  Click here for additional location information. 

Pre and post show dining and entertainment: The Wisconsin Union is your one-stop location for entertainment on the night you attend a performance!  In addition to housing great theatre, the Union is home to the Memorial Union Terrace, a local treasure where you can enjoy a stunning view of Lake Mendota, hear local bands, enjoy beer, wine, and snacks, and dance the night away.  The Terrace will be open before and after performances of Little Miss Sunshine. 

Additionally, the Union has numerous casual dining options including standard American fare, pizza, custom sandwiches, coffee, ice cream, and full-service bars.  You can even bring your drinks with you into the theatre! 



Content/Parental Advisory: Little Miss Sunshine contains some adult themes including references to sex (no simulation but some kissing and talking/singing about the subject),  references to suicide (the character who made an attempt wears bandages on his wrists), and drug use by the Grandpa character, which is shown.  It also features some strong language, including Olive saying the f word (reading off of a piece of paper, not expressing it herself).  On the other hand,  the message for children and pre-teens who can handle that content is one of familial love and self-acceptance, a very important takeaway for impressionable kids.  For those who have seen the film, Olive's final dance is changed in tone from being sexy to being expressive.  It is a personal decision whether the show is appropriate, but we do think it has merit for young audiences with the maturity to handle some of the content.  Feel free to direct questions to 

Moving Images Advisory: MTM uses some moving images on the screen behind the actors during the performance.  There are several, but most last only a minute or so.  Those with motion sickness or epilepsy may want to avert their eyes in these moments. 

Anchor 1
Anchor 2


Filmed by Rob Matsushita


Photos by Julia Luebke. 



Check back frequently for updates! 

NBC 15 segment

Backstage with Bruno segment

Little Miss Empowerment-Madison Magazine

Fun and dysfunction in Little Miss Sunshine:  The Wisconsin State Journal

Headliners: Isthmus summer arts preview  (Please note: Little Miss Sunshine  was not on Broadway and did not close after only a month; the show had a scheduled limited run at off-Broadway's Second Stage in 2013.  In fact, it was extended due to record-breaking advance sales.

Presenting Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

This project is supported by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation Inc., the charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.

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