For those of you who read part one of “The Making of a Musical Theater Student”, you now know what a day in the rehearsal life of a musical theater student is like. If you haven’t read it, you can do so here. Last Friday, following two weeks of rehearsals, the group performed what it had been perfecting behind closed doors…
The show opened with a Medley of Broadway songs, containing On Broadway (from 42nd Street), Greased Lightning (Grease), Ease on Down the Road (The Wiz), Little Shop (Little Shop of Horrors), and Part of Your World (Little Mermaid). The songs were sharp, and the kids remained un-phased when an audience member began cheering before the piece was over.
Next came a hip-hop dance piece to the song Pump it Up by Joe Budden. Dance instructor Natrea Blake explained the challenge in choreographing this song to the audience, as the students’ had different levels of dance experience. The group did a great job, as the choreography worked well and the students were all in sync.
The following piece was a loosely written skit called “Elevator Breakdown”, which required an audience member and improvisation from both the performers and audience participant. This scene featured some great individual performing by Ohene Okera, who played a man freaking out on an elevator, requiring very specific, hilarious instructions to bring him back to normalcy. Ohene shined, as did the very energetic woman brought in from the crowd.
Next was a piece called “Two Lost Souls”, with pianist Michika Fukumori accompanying performers Zoe George and Mylenia Lopez. This clever, short skit had the girls singing, arguing, praising one another, and eventually angrily parting. Well executed and very funny, the Zoe and Mylenia also got to showcase their impressive vocal abilities.
“The Kidnapping” followed, starring Bailey Lawson along with instructors Michael Awusie and Amy Hall. Bailey played the wife of a kidnapped man, while Michael and Amy played interviewers for a major news station. Bailey realized this interview would be seen by “thousands of people” and laughter ensues. Her performance was mature and funny, and she did a great job oscillating between genuine emotion and made-for-tv emotional theatrics.
A tap dance piece featuring guest artist and professional tap dancer Marshall Davis Jr. (currently touring with Savion Glover) was next. This was my first time seeing tap performed, and I was very impressed at the group’s ability to dance and create rhythms simultaneously while remaining in sync.
“My Fellow Cavemen” followed, the satirical caveman skit I mentioned in my rehearsal article. The class completely embodied these characters, and performed the piece very well. One of the kids briefly forgot a line, but recovered immediately and the scene continued without a hitch.
In “Tomorrow”, individual monologues were interspersed with the singing of Tomorrow (from the Broadway play Annie). The ideas for these monologues, based on issues teenagers and young adults face, came from the kids themselves. I really enjoyed seeing the serious side of the group, as this sad, somber piece gave new meaning to the song.
Another skit, “Landshark”, was performed next. This comical piece had a killer land shark visiting peoples’ houses, fooling them into opening the door, and murdering them. Switching between the shark break-ins and commentators covering the phenomenon, this skit was clever, hilarious, and very good.
To finish the show, the group sang and danced to You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray. I had this song in my head all weekend, and the performers’ infectious energy reached its pinnacle on this song. This was the perfect way to end the show on a high note.
So there you have it; from rehearsal to performance, the making of a musical theater student. What this group achieved in two short weeks was nothing short of amazing. I look forward to next year’s group already, and highly recommend any young teenager with an interest in musical theater check this camp out.