When I came to UR, I was very excited to hear of all the theatrical productions that take place throughout the year. To have so many opportunities to see a good show was great. However, I was extremely disappointed when I found out that, though we have multiple plays, there is no musical theater production.
I was never a “theater kid” in high school, but I always made sure to have a small part in our Choral-Drama Club’s production of the year. Some of my best memories come from those day-long Saturday rehearsals where we made lunch in the hallway and had dance parties on the stage. I was sad to hear that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to take part in such a fun activity.
While I attend and enjoy the Off Broadway On Campus musical revue show every semester, I wish that there were some other forms of musical theater, too. If OBOC were to do a revue one semester and a musical the other, this would provide the best of both worlds for those like me who crave to have musical theater in their lives.
One of the major reasons that OBOC or another group doesn’t put on an actual musical as their show is because any Students’ Association-funded club is not allowed to have auditions that exclude anyone from joining. Everyone who wants to take part must be allowed to do so. However, there are two feasible solutions to this problem.
First off, there are many musicals that can be done with a large cast. Large choruses that sing the theme song can almost always be used, and extras walking in the background of a street scene always add a more real element to the production.
Secondly, the musical production does not necessarily have to be put on by an SA-funded group. The plays put on at Todd Theatre are done through the theater section of the English Department. The University is always looking to make ways for students to take part in interdisciplinary work, and a musical would be a great way to combine efforts between the English Department and the Music Department. This way, if a smaller cast were needed for the desired show, tryouts could be done.
The production of a musical is by no means an easy task, and it would take a lot of time and effort to put one together. However, by lacking musicals, our school is missing out on a whole element of artistic culture, and the benefits surely outweigh the costs. Unlike a play, a musical includes not only acting, but also instrumentation and singing and can allow for a wider variety of creativity.
If there were such a production at UR, I would certainly go, and I know lots of closet musical theater fans who would as well. It would be a spectacular addition to the campus’s artistic repertoire if there were to be at least one musical every year.
Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.