Missionaries, faculty, and students filled the McKay Auditorium the weekend of Nov. 14 as they awaited the beginning of the annual Broadway Revue show. This year the theme was Disney, and the setlist was made up of songs from “Aladdin,” “Frozen,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Lion King,” and more.
Melissa Glenn, assistant professor of music and director of the show, said the Disney theme was special because it makes people happy and gives them a break from the digital world. “Everyone likes Disney. It’s really fun, and you already know the songs, so there is a built-in audience for it ... I think this is one of those shows that is about having a reprieve from life.
“You take a break from what you're worrying about and you just enjoy yourself. I love that with every show, people are inspired to support the arts and come to more shows. They take a break from the digital world we live in and enjoy live theater.”
According to students, the program was something to anticipate because it included everything from the comedic moments of “Kiss the Girl” to an empowering rendition of “Go the Distance.”
After the musical numbers from “Frozen,” the stage cleared of all performers except Jonathan Torio for his solo “Go the Distance.” Torio, a junior from the Philippines majoring in vocal performance, said this performance was so meaningful to him because it helps him remember to keep pushing for his dream to become a performer.
Torio explained, “As a performer it’s hard sometimes to compete with a lot of good singers. I can relate this song to my personal life. Sometimes I doubt myself on singing or Broadway, but every time I sing this song it reminds me to ‘keep going forward. You are going to get your time someday.’”
Several cast members said their favorite song was “Kiss the Girl,” which involved a volunteer audience member coming on stage and playing the role of Ariel.
Throughout the song, the performers guide the volunteer closer to Mallapre, teaching him how to kiss a girl. At the end of the song, as the volunteer and Mallapre are sitting next to each other on the edge of the stage, he gives her a kiss – a Hershey’s Kiss.
On Friday night’s performance, the audience member played along, giving Mallapre a kiss on the cheek, causing the audience and cast to start cheering.
Nalani Matthias, a sophomore from New Jersey majoring in vocal performance, said this was her favorite number because “they make it super funny and relatable and a typical guy thing.”
The soloist for “Kiss the Girl,” Will Strong, a sophomore from Wisconsin majoring in business finance, said, “I like my song ‘Kiss the Girl’ because it’s really fun to embarrass Ralph.”
Getting ready for the show, although stressful, is a lot of fun, according to the cast. J.T. Stokes, a sophomore from New Jersey majoring in vocal performance, said to prepare “we learn the music, and then halfway through the semester we learn the dances. Last week, we had everything finalized.”
Glenn explained how this year was a little different. “We have a few little special effects in this show. We haven’t done those before. This happens with different songs and different people, but different characters come out when people make different acting choices beyond the staging and the choreography. They make it their own. There are lots of good moments like that.”
Trisha Jose, a sophomore from the Philippines and Korea majoring in exercise and sport science, said she initially joined the show because her friend told her to, but she ended up having a lot of fun.
Preparing and performing, she explained, “is very nerve-racking for me because this is my first time, but I love it. It’s really fun. We meet two days a week. For the first month or two, we are just learning the songs. Then, we add the choreography.”
The best part of the show, she said, is “getting to know the people I’m with. They are really fun. There are a lot of people you can work with but not have fun, but these people are amazing, which made it easier for me to be comfortable.”
Torio, who is in his second year of Broadway Revue, said, “I really enjoy the process ... I’m like a Broadway nerd, so that’s why this class is my favorite. We sing Broadway songs, we do a lot of dancing, which I love to do. I love singing and dancing in a performance. That’s why my major is vocal performance, but I’m planning to do musical theater for my graduate program.”
Sarah Knight, a senior from California majoring in vocal performance, said after she tried out for Broadway Revue three years ago, she has done it ever since. The process this year, she described, “was probably the fastest and the most well put together.
In putting everything together, Knight said all sorts of funny things happen. “We all get hit a lot, arms in the face. There are funny jokes. The other night we were done rehearsing, and we did things over again and we were all partying with our dance moves.”