“Sex is good, but I’d rather be sailing.”
When soloist and senior Tom Yi sang those words from the song “I’d Rather Be Sailing/Set Those Sails,” the crowd erupted into laughter. It was the seventh song of Off Broadway on Campus’ (OBOC) Fall revue: “Hello My Name Is OBOC.” It also happened to be my first OBOC show.
The show started at 8 p.m. inside a packed Upper Strong Auditorium. Act one featured songs like “Nobody” from “Bandstand,” “Pick-a-little, Talk-a-little” from “The Music Man,” and “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” from “Avenue Q.” The standout performances, however, were “I’d Rather Be Sailing/Set Those Sails” from “Make Me a Song” and “Join the Family Business” from “Young Frankenstein.” The former was a delightful duet delivered by senior Talia Apter and Yi, while the latter was a laugh riot, and helped close the rather dull first act on a positive note.
The second act opened with “Hello!” from the “Book of Mormon.” This number, which inspired the title of the show, was highly anticipated. Judging by the reaction of the audience, the performance lived up to expectations. OBOC’s rendition almost perfectly matched the original. The performers were visibly having fun and the crowd fed off their energy. When it ended, the person next to me screamed, “They nailed it!”
After “Hello!,” senior Noah Pines took the mic and, to the beat of “Hard to Be The Bard” from “Something Rotten!,” he thanked all clubs and organizations that co-sponsored the show. As he went through the names of the co-sponsors, representatives from each organization shouted proudly, as if confirming their presence. The music kept playing, and Pines started singing “Hard to be The Bard.” His stage presence was commanding and he elicited multiple woos of appreciation from the audience.
One of the highlights of act two was “Vanilla Ice Cream” from “She Loves Me.” Senior Mary Potash told the story of how a terrible blind date led to her liking her coworker, George, a man she previously hated. Her friend, junior Elena Robson, on the other hand, was trying to make her apologize to her date, whom she described as a nervous, bald fat man. This was a jolly and lighthearted piece which kept the second act’s momentum going.
It was nice to see different numbers have different people in the lead. This helped thrust many members into the spotlight. Also, hats off to the pit orchestra! They delivered a tight musical foundation upon which the performers could rely.
However, some numbers left me confused at times as to what was actually happening. This was to be expected given that they were taken from various musicals, and therefore lacked a backstory. Multiple people told me that they felt a bit bored by the first act, but the second act made up for it. There was also a slight technical issue as the mics of some soloists were not loud enough.
Overall, the performance had a warm reception. Everyone was smiling as they left the auditorium. OBOC has a new fan in me, and I look forward to their future shows.
Correction (11/12/19): An earlier version of this review said that Noah Pines is a sophomore. He is, in fact, a senior.