BYU Showcases Senior talent

Last night I had the opportunity of seeing the BFA Senior Showcase at BYU.  I was there on assignment from UTBA (Utah Theater Blogger’s Association) as a trial run, hopefully I will be able to see more shows and write about them for UTBA in the future.  Here is what I wrote about last night’s show.

 

Every year for the last ten years Brigham Young University’s Music Dance Theatre (MDT) program has sponsored a Senior Showcase to highlight the talent of its graduating seniors.  The focus is entirely on what students can do; there are no costumes, no lights, and no set.   The Showcase at BYU serves both to allow the public a chance to see what these singers, dancers, and actors can do and to raise money for four performances in New York City and Los Angeles, where students will perform for agents and industry professionals.

It was a fun show, with a wide variety of genres and music styles represented, as well as monologues.  There were some pieces from well-beloved classics like The King and I, West Side Story, and The Scarlet Pimpernel as well as some more modern shows like Urinetown, which was an interesting choice.  Lisa Stoffer chose to sing “It’s a Privilege to Pee”, which is a good song to show off her singing voice, but an odd subject matter.

The monologues, which were all performed by the female students, were interesting, if a little overbearing.  All of them seemed to be by women who were either recently divorced or separated or dumped and angry at men.  They were strong monologues and the girls performed them well, though frantic and crazy, which seemed to be the point.

Two brief guy/girl scenes were sandwiched between the musical numbers, one from The Heartbreak Kid and one from He and She Fighting a new play by BYU professor Eric Samuelsen, which was wonderfully acted by Ashley Bonner and Ivan Hoffman.  The absurdity of a man proposing with a ring when his girlfriend has just told him that she never wants to see him again, was played to great comedic effect.

Another interesting twist to the show was the addition of two rock songs, Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, performed by Hugh Cha, and Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar, performed by Aurora Florence rather than the traditional showtunes of the rest of the evening.

It was a great show, a wonderful evening of musical theatre that was the perfect showcase of the talent that exists in the MDT program at BYU.

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