For five years, the members of the Off Broadway On Campus group, have delivered superb acting, masterful singing and entertaining comedic performances. This year OBOC believes it has the finest assemblage of talent yet.

OBOC presents their Spring Revue tomorrow night entitled “One Singular Sensation,” at 8 p.m. at Upper Strong Auditorium. The performance will include large group numbers and a number of duets by UR’s only student-run musical theatre group. OBOC’s talented cast will perform songs featured in such Broadway hits from “A Chorus Line,” “My Fair Lady,” “Godspell,” and “Mame” as well as recent shows like “Aida,” “Urinetown” and “Tick, Tick, Boom!” The group will present four numbers together as a full cast, seven other group numbers and nine duets over the duration of their show.

Unlike many other theatrical performances that appear on college campuses throughout the country, every scene that you will see tomorrow night is student-run. “Every number is student directed, every actor on stage takes classes here and everything you see on this stage is put together by students,” junior OBOC publicity director Kary Haddad said.

Ever since its inception in 1997, OBOC’s popularity has increased steadily. The group’s first concert was in the spring of 1998 and featured music from Frank Wildhorns “Jekyll & Hyde.” As the fall rolled around, the group sought to expand its talent pool by constructing an OBOC Constitution and officialy became recognized by the Students’ Association. By the Spring of 1999, OBOC performed its first Spring Revue in the Gowen Room of Wilson Commons.By the fall of the following year the event became so popular that OBOC moved its performance to the stage of Lower Strong Auditorium. OBOC delighted its audience that semester with pieces from “Les Miserables,” “Grease” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

Participants and audience members from the second Spring Revue on April 16, 2000 gave it rave reviews. The show was described as riveting, artistically innovative and super-fun, by those who were in attendance. The OBOC cast wowed the audience with hits from “Chicago,” “West Side Story” and “Rent.” The following fall OBOC received a financial boost, as it received funding from the SA for the first time in its history. This allowed OBOC to expand its budget, which in turn allowed them to add new members and increase the number of scenes it could perform during each show.

By the spring of 2002, OBOC had gotten so popular that their shows filled the seats of Lower Strong Auditorium, necessitating a move upstairs to the larger confines of Upper Strong Auditorium. Haddad provides several theories to why interest in OBOC has risen so rapidly. “I think we fill a huge void on campus as the only musical theater group on campus. Students who acted in high school want to continue their work in theater in college and their friends want to be here to support them at their shows. You can never underestimate the power of word of mouth,” he said. This year OBOC has nearly 50 members in its cast.

The larger cast size explains why this version of OBOC is probably its talented yet. The increase in cast size has also brought forth the fiercest level of competition among OBOC members since the group was first founded. Each year the cast votes on which nine duets it will use in the show. This year several impressive duets that could have stolen the show in past years, weren’t even good enough to make the final cut for the show. “Voting was very difficult,” freshman Heather Good said. “I personally feel this will be our best show yet,” Haddad added.

Twelve senior performers who have spent their entire college career in OBOC will be making their final performance tomorrow night. Fittingly, all twelve will perform “Our Time,” from the musical “Merrily We Roll Along.” “The piece shows that it is time for them to move on,” Haddad said. “Time for them to realize the place they assume in society.” “It has been great to see them come together,” Good added.

Over 500 people were in attendance for OBOC’s fall performance. Haddad expects an even larger turnout for “One Singular Sensation” tomorrow night. Tickets for the show are $4 for UR students at the door of the show.

Rybaltowski can be reached at mrybaltowski@campustimes.org.



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