Drake University Theatre Arts presents It Shoulda Been You written by Barbara Anslemi and Brian Hargrove. Showtimes are March 31–April 2 at 7:30 p.m. and April 3 at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall at the Harmon Fine Arts Center on Drake University’s campus. Face coverings are not required but encouraged. Tickets are available online at tix.com/ticket-sales/drakefinearts or by calling the Fine Arts Box Office at 515–271–3841.

It Shoulda Been You tells the story of two comically different families who come together for a wedding celebration where anything is possible.

“The show is a fun musical farce centered around a wedding that has so many twists and turns,” said Adam Yankowy, director of the show and assistant professor of theater at Drake University. “You will laugh and cry in this new musical written by Barbara Anselmi, a female composer—something that is rare in the musical theatre industry.”

The cast of It Shoulda Been You had the rare opportunity to listen to Anselmi talk about her writing process for the characters, songs, and plot of the musical.

“I enjoyed diving into this story and having so much insider knowledge into the process,” Yankowy said. “Barbara has offered to speak with students and has been an asset throughout the semester. It is truly an amazing experience for our students.”

Drake Theatre students have expanded their vocal capabilities throughout the rehearsal process such as Dina Perez, portraying the female lead, Jenny Steinburg.

“Vocally, I’m excited to explore my belting side and play around more,” Perez said. “I was proud when I did the callback of this song and got the role, and I can’t wait to hone in to the best it can be.”

It Shoulda Been You features a wide variety of musical numbers from power ballads to ensemble quartets. Drake performer Ben Jaeger has used this experience to sharpen his dancing skills.

“I’m spending a lot of time working on my tap feature in the show,” Jaeger said. “It’s something new for me to be doing onstage and I am excited to keep improving my tap ability.”

A major theme of It Shoulda Been You centers on identity and the judgment from others that comes with it. Drake senior Niaa Dowell elaborates on the challenges these characters go through in this musical.

“There are many themes in this play from body image and fatphobia, to homophobia and complicated family issues,” Dowell said. “I think this show encourages people to be brave and embrace self-love because at the end of the day, there’s only one you.”