A new production by ANU Musical Theatre Company is continuing the group’s proud tradition of featuring women in key roles.

Dogfight follows a group of marines in their last night of debauchery on the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia. Corporal Eddie Birdlace and friends Bernstein and Boland are looking for dates to a cruel ritual known as the dogfight, where ‘the ugliest girl wins a wad of dough for the guy who brung her’. But Rose Fenny, an awkward yet idealistic waitress who Birdlace ensnares as his date, is set to rewrite the rules of the game.

The play is a change of pace for ANU MTC, who are traditionally known for blockbuster productions such as Sweeney Todd, Miss Saigon and Into The Woods.

But what hasn’t changed is the group’s commitment to inclusion, with the play featuring women in 70 per cent of the production roles, including directorial, production and set design.

This year’s production also features a majority of newcomer performers in their first year at the Australian National University.

Dogfight’s score is as compelling as its story, featuring complex musical numbers inspired by classic show tunes, 1960s rock’n’roll, contemporary popular music and folk ballads. The show’s music and lyrics are an early collaboration by Benji Pasek and Jusin Paul, the duo known for La La Land and The Greatest Showman.

There are a few warnings on content, with the play featuring sudden loud noises including gunshots, depictions of violence and physical assault, war scenes and sexual assault themes, and the organisers also wish to advise there is discussion of misogyny, crude language and mature themes. The show is not recommended for people under 15.

ANU Musical Theatre Company is presenting Dogfight with permission of Hal Leonard publishing, with the book by Peter Duchan and lyrics by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul.

ANU Musical Theatre Company was formerly known as ANU Interhall Productions. Dogfight takes to the stage at the Belconnen Community Centre Theatre on Thursday 16 August, with shows until Saturday 25 August. Ticket info here.