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Sara Wabrowetz performs during the dress rehearsal of the Renegade Theater Company production of “Things to Ruin,” a pop musical revue-style show about what it is like to be young and alive in modern times. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

‘Things to Ruin’

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Forget everything you know about plays and plotlines. “Things to Ruin,” written by Joe Iconis, bucks the traditional story arc.

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“If a musical is a novel, ‘Things to Ruin’ is a collection of short stories,” said Andy Bennett, Renegade’s director of development. “Each song tells a story, and each song stars a different character. There is no central plot and no characters revisited once they’ve sung their song.”

The show opens with “I Was Born This Morning” with its driving rock ’n’ roll beat. “Nerd Love” is a tribute to a special lady with a lazy eye and acne who wears a William Shatner T-shirt. “Nothing gets me hotter than Star Trek, baby, c’mon,” sings the male soloist.

“The War Song” is a sweet-sounding song about a kid with no skills, a terrible SAT score and no future plans. “So, I’m go-oh-oh-oh-ohing to war,” he sings, despite not being patriotic or having “national rage.”

“Things to Ruin” is co-directed and co-choreographed by Evan Kelly and Amber Burns.

Musical revues are trending right now, Bennett said. “Ring of Fire,” a Johnny Cash-themed piece, recently played at The Underground. Stephen Sondheim’s “Putting it Together” and “Side By Side” also fall into this genre.

When the show played at the Zipper Factory in New York City, a reviewer for the New York Times said: “The music … belongs to the mode of ‘Rent’ and of Duncan Sheik’s more vigorous numbers in ‘Spring Awakening,’ but the tunes are sparer, the beats harder.”

Renegade Theater Company’s production has a bit of side flare: There is VIP seating that includes front-row food, drink and table service. The company is encouraging heavy social media usage during the show — so turn off the ringer but continue your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram blasts with the hashtag #T2R. Prizes are available for best post about the show on social media.

Go see it

Opens 8 p.m. today; runs 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Aug. 30

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