With a theme like “Disney,” you might have expected the YellowJackets spring show this past Saturday to be a little kitschy or ridiculous. It was anything but.
A combination of pop songs, old favorites, and Disney classics came together in a night that was truly magical.
The theme wasn’t reserved only for the songs. The night was interspersed with the Disney-esque story of junior Shurik Zavriyev, the prince of Gilbert Hall, who goes on a quest to find his true love — a mysterious boy who forgets his yellow blazer when he leaves a party to study for an orgo exam.
Prince Shurik searches far and wide for his true love, junior Gapilan “Cubby” Sivasithamparam, whose name he doesn’t know because “it’s too hard to spell.” Zavriyev and Sivasithamparam, as well as classmate James Fosburgh (who played Sivasithamparam’s evil step-brother), carried the show on their shoulders, each soloing in so many songs it was hard to keep track.
Fosburgh’s version of “Before He Cheats” turned a Kelly Clarkson ballad into a hardcore a cappella bop. Zavriyev had the audience in stitches as he acted out the parts of both Timon and Pumbaa from “The Lion King” in “Hakuna Matata,” as did Sivasithamparam playing the demigod Maui in “You’re Welcome” from “Moana,” both as a part of the group’s Disney medley.
The first act also contained classics like “Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book,” “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” “Love is an Open Door” from “Frozen,” and closed with “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” in which they invited PASApella, UR’s pan-african a cappella group, to the stage.
Speaking of PASApella, the two numbers they performed, both in the South African language of Xhosa, were beautifully blended, rich in vocals and harmony. The solos of first-years Ndondwa Mijoya and Jenna Raslan knocked the socks off of everyone in the audience.
In stark contrast to the first act, the second contained only one Disney song — “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” — but was no less impressive or enjoyable.
The group performed the set that led it to place third at the ICCA quarterfinals last month. “Start a Fire,” from “La La Land,” and Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s “Love Never Felt So Good” got the audience grooving. Fosburgh joined senior Scott Abrams in a duet of “Happier” by Ed Sheeran mashed up with “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith that was moving and heartfelt, and the set closed out with a rendition of Michael Bublé’s “Cry Me a River,” soloed by Kevin Spooner, in a stunning performance that brought the house down. Learning that Spooner is just a first-year points to a hopeful future for this group.
Sadly, the YellowJackets had to say goodbye to Abrams, the group’s sole senior, who performed a sweet, earnest version of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”. The group closed with its iconic number, “Waving Flag” by K’Naan, before bringing alumni up to the stage to do one last song together.
The YellowJackets are clearly performers, as is evident to anyone who has seen them onstage, last Saturday or ever. Not just because they are amazing singers, but because of their ability to keep an audience attentive and engaged, whether that’s with their vocals, their humor, or just their all-around stage presence. Watching them is infectious — it makes you wish you were up onstage with them.