Off Broadway On Campus hosted its semesterly show, “OBOC Presents: Class Act,” on Friday, Nov. 10, performing a revue of musical numbers ranging from a Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired French musical, to a story about a mysterious phantom that haunts the theater. OBOC does and has it all, and I was lucky enough to not only attend the show but sit down and talk with OBOC’s current eboard members about their experiences.
OBOC is the longest running musical theater group on campus, and it shows. Throughout the entire performance, the audience cheered, clapped, laughed, and screamed the names of different cast members as they hit the stage. “I feel like I have so much support backing me up,” says senior and OBOC President Kerri Golden. “There have been these bumps before. There have been these amazing, talented people for so long… It makes it almost easier to get through.”
I’ve had the privilege of attending three performances from this club now. Each show has its own theme — this year, it was “Class Act.” Junior Andy Vu, the Publicity Chair of the club, was responsible for choosing iconographies and art for the show. Vu also put together one of the numbers in the show as well: “The Story of the Phantom” from “Goosebumps The Musical.” Concerning the inspirations for this semester’s show, he recounted to me the convergence of many ideas and themes that seemed to come together beautifully.
“Class Act,” he says, has a few different meanings. “This is a class act. This is what OBOC has to show. And with the talent that I’ve seen, I think that can be said […] You see class act where there’s high schoolers, like in ‘Stick It to the Man,’ or you’re at a high class party.” It’s clear that Vu has spent a long time thinking about the themes running through all of their numbers, and is very passionate about what he does.
The night opened with “Fascinating Rhythm” from “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” This was the perfect song to open the show — high energy, loud, and full of movement. This song featured many short solos that truly prepared you for all the talent that followed in the next two hours. Around halfway through, there was an amazing dance break that got you excited and wanting to get out of your seat and dance too. My favorite part about the number, however, was the palpable energy in the audience. The room was electric and it put me on the edge of my seat for the next numbers.
There were many amazing numbers that followed to the end of Act I. I wish I could give each and every one of them the time they deserve, but you’ll just have to watch them yourself to find out! When I talked with the eboard, I asked each of them what their personal favorites from the show were. To my surprise, their answers greatly varied.
To recap a couple of the responses I received: Golden’s favorite song was “Meet the Plastics” from “Mean Girls.” “My lifelong dream is to just play Regina George until I die,” she said. Sophomore and OBOC Social Chair Hannah Zavalkoff and junior and OBOC Secretary Samantha Tong were both fans of the title track from “Footloose.” “I really liked the choreo!” Tong said. “Whoever did the choreo is really talented.” (Spoiler alert, it was her.)
Junior Luna Trumble, who serves as OBOC’s Music Director, told me that her favorite was “Lah Dee Dah Dah Day” from “The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals.”
“The cast does a great job acting like creepy musical theater zombies,” Trumble said, “enough to where I’m getting the heebie-jeebies even while I’m laughing and clapping along.”
Personally, I’d say that my favorite performance of the night was “How to Wash a Check” from Kimberly Akimbo, which was the perfect amount of ridiculous to get the audience seriously laughing. That, or “The Room Where It Happens” from “Hamilton.” This wonderful performance, by the newbies of the group, was a wonderful mix of great vocals, exciting choreo, and impressive character choices. This being their first show, I truly think the sky’s the limit for them.
There were many people who made the performance possible — from the talented people in the Pit Orchestra, to the ECM team, all of their wonderful co-sponsors, as well as everyone else who helped make this show a reality. The exciting thing is, next semester that could include you!
When it came to the commitment level for all club members, Vice President of OBOC, junior Sasha Lifchez, said that commitment is as flexible as members want it to be. “If you want to be in the whole show, you can,” they said. “But if you want to be in one number, or be in the Pit … you can. It’s really up to you.”
OBOC also hosts fun events for members. “Our first event was OBrunch where E-Board cooks breakfast for the whole club,” Zavalkoff said. They also host a yearly Maize Maze, where they invite alumni to join them in a corn maze and celebrate with apple cider treats after.
If you missed the show, check out the University’s livestream website for a full recording. To learn more about joining, OBOC will be hosting a GIM early next semester, and Follow their Instagram @ur.oboc in the meantime.