Jessica Branks, News Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
From February 22 to 25, Emory & Henry theater students put on a production of Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell’s musical [title of show] in the MCA Black Box theater. The quirky four-person show is best described by its tagline as “a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical.”
[Title of show] was organized, designed and performed almost entirely by students.
Rachel Black, the Assistant Professor of Musical Theater, and the Director and Music Director for the show explained that “the way we do things here in the theater department is every single student does something on every single production; whether they’re building a set or they’re sewing.”
The students who performed in the show were sophomore James Jiggetts, first-year Jason Beckner, sophomore Emily Morris, and senior H. Brenna Bowyer.
Professor Black felt that [title of show] was a difficult piece and that the cast handled its challenges well. “The music is really really hard, and everyone’s always on their own part. You really can’t lean on someone else and so much of the music you’re doubling with someone over here, and it’s really just sitting down and learning it,” Black said of the show.
Black explained that “in a show like that, that is very, very meta, just being able to be yourself on stage” is important, and “a challenge that [she thinks] they met quite well.”
The most senior member of the cast was Brenna Bowyer, who also appeared as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret and several other performances during her time at E&H. She shared Black’s sentiment about the difficulty of portraying the show’s characters, saying that “the characters in this show are actual, still living people.” Bowyer explained that because of this she “had to find a balance of being true to Susan, while also not mimicking her,” and said that “it was tricky, but an overall fun experience!”
The intimate space of the Black Box theater meant that the audience was right on the level of the performers, with the front row just inches away from the stage area. The Assistant Music Director and adjunct professor at Emory & Henry Jacob Pleakis also appeared in the performance as “Larry” the pianist.
The difficulty of the show helped to bond the cast members throughout the rehearsal process.
“The cast and crew for this show were like a little family. Because there were so few of us, we got to develop relationships with each other. We’re safe to laugh, cry, fail, try again, and never worry about someone judging us,” Bowyer said of the cast.
Black also said that “our entire cast really came together” and that they “never missed a beat.”
The next student performance at Emory & Henry will be Macbeth, which will take place from April 13 – 15 in the MCA Kennedy-Reedy Theater.