Friday night, I finally managed to come down to the University of Alabama, specifically in order to perform in the Senior Guerrilla I had taken away from me when the tornado hit Tuscaloosa on April 27. On that note, the day spent with my fellow APO seniors, being roasted and roasting, telling one another how we felt about each other, just spending a day of comfort and love and adoration and respect with one another all day. I never really knew how many people actually paid attention to my skills as a writer and respected them, nor how many people actually respected me. It was a great day. And the Guerrilla performances were just awesome. As soon as the video comes up for mine, I will certainly link you.
…long rambly paragraph aside, I actually rolled into T-Town on Friday, just in time to watch the second and final performance of the first Alpha Psi Omega musical since, if I recall, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
The musical this time was “See Rock City & Other Destinations,” a modern musical that seems to have been written around 2007 with music by Brad Alexander and lyrics by Adam Mathias. It’s not exactly a musical I’ve ever heard of before. It’s not really as big a hit as, say, “Wicked.” But this tiny, hour and a half or so musical is one of the best musicals I’ve had the joy of seeing.
The director, senior Barrett Guyton, actually was directing only his second show and his first musical after directing the spring 2011 David Bolus show “blackout.” Something people may not realize about directing a show… it’s not the easiest thing to do, per se. You can only direct something well if you can see it, envision the way things will flow and become, and sometimes it simply won’t work the way you see it.
I’ve directed a scene from Edward Albee’s “Everything in the Garden” for a directing class before. I had read the play several times before and performed the scene for my Acting 1 class. As such, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to see when the scene played out. Still, I had to come up with new things for the new venue and created a blocking based on the factors of the new stage I was on.
Later, I directed a musical number, the freaking awesome quartet “Poor Child” from the Andrew Lippa musical “Wild Party.” Granted, it didn’t quite come out exactly the way I wanted because of rehearsal restraints, but I found that during a musical number, so many more factors had to be considered. Feel of the music, flow of the voices, who I wanted to be focused on (since all four were singing different things simultaneously)… there was a lot to focus on. A lot to think about. But I had seen the musical before, and had an idea that was at least somewhat similar to the way it was done then.
Both times, though, an idea sort of formed in my head to start off. I saw an image of the scene before anything was ever even performed. But that isn’t something that can always just happen. It’s a gift, and it still requires hard work.
All that is to say, Guyton has a special talent as a director. Because the show was fabulously well done.
But Guyton was not the only force behind this amazing show. The entire cast, 13 people strong, had nothing but amazing performances. I would pick out the strongest performances, but I simply can’t. Each performance was, quite simply, awe inspiring.
The musical shows itself in the fashion of several scenes piled together. Simple situations, similar yet different in nature. The quote from the website describes the plot of the show thusly:
“A wanderer believes his destiny is written on rooftops along the North Carolina Interstate. A young man yearns to connect with intelligent life in Roswell, New Mexico. A woman at the Alamo steps out of the shadow of her grandparents’ idealized romance to take a chance on love. Three estranged sisters cruise to Glacier Bay to scatter their father’s ashes. Two high school boys face unexpected fears in the Coney Island Spook House. A terrified bride-to-be ponders taking the leap…over Niagara Falls.”
If you ever get a chance to see any performance of this musical, I suggest you do so. It’s a wonderful story, defying some expectations and presenting some great, memorable songs that show off voices wonderfully. If you didn’t get to see UA’s APO cast perform the musical, though, then I’m sorry… but you missed an amazing show. A once in a life time joy to uplift your life.
…shoot, I’ll list the cast and crew, too. No need to give Guyton all the glory.
Adam Vanek, Natalie Riegel, Drey Mitchell, Jessica Berzack, Will Travis, Jordan DeWitt, Miranda Rivas, Gia Asperasm Brittany Steelhammer, Nicholas Burroughs, Corey Rives, Renee Reinecke and Zacchaeus Kimbrell as cast, with Daniel DeShazo, Will Cotton, Keegan Butler, Katie Marie Hooper, Marianne McConnell, Meagan Eversmeyer and Sarah Kathryn Bonds as crew.
Congratulations, APO, for a fantastic show, and one of my favorite musicals ever seen at UA.