BMR features songs, staff and sequins
The performers of the Broadway Musical Revue performed a series of songs in Page Commons this weekend, showing their talents for dancing, singing and chivalry.
- Colby Museum to reopen in July
- Senior follows artistic passion
- Chamber present Charpentier’s “Actéon”
This fall, the Echo reviewed the Broadway Musical Revue’s semester performance, predicting that, “the next BMR show should be a highly anticipated part of everyone’s spring.” Within a few seconds of taking my seat in the audience on Friday, April 6, I saw that this was not just a lucky guess, but a fact. Page Commons was packed as students, staff and faculty sat at tables with popcorn, drinks and programs.
BMR has been a time-honored Colby tradition, providing the Colby community with laughs, surprises and high-quality dance and vocal numbers. The group is essentially student-run, with the responsibilities of schedules and most parts of production falling to the students involved.
“Each semester the directors pick the songs and who is in each of them,” cast member Lindsay DiBartholomeo ’14 explained. “Then the fellow members of BMR can elect to choreograph or direct a number.” The group met as a whole two days a week, and the smaller groups made their own schedules according to availability.
Accompanied by drums and piano, the show opened with the classic “Magic to Do,” from the musical Pippin, showcasing all voices from the ensemble and exhibiting the talent that could be seen throughout the rest of the performance.
Following the opening number was a hysterical rendition of Damn Yankees’ “Whatever Lola Wants,” which featured not a student, but longtime BMR advisor and Special Assistant to the President Janice Kassman. Decked out in a gold sequin dress and flanked by BMR men, Kassman belted, tangoed and thrilled with her very own tribute, “Whatever Janice Wants.” It was hard to hear her at times though; as consistent howls and cheers from the audience echoed throughout the room.
As is typical of live theater, sometimes the best moments are the most unexpected. The cast pulled audience member Jeremy Gooden ’14 during the men’s performance of The Full Monty’s “Big Ass Rock,” a song explaining that what makes a true friend is how far they would go to help you kill yourself. As the singers pantomimed using rocks, cinder blocks and rope, Gooden provided another level of comedy to the song, reacting to his situation with the confused facial expressions and mouthed ad-libs that audiences love to see during his performances with the campus Improv group.
The women and men’s voices were also showcased separately in the show, with both genders singing group numbers that celebrated (or lamented) life as a member of their sex.
The humor and drama of the songs explored love, friendship and self-worth, all issues that remain to be relevant for the adult and teenage members of the audience.
Apart from the singers and actors, the costume choices emerged as another star of the show. From the random harmony of the cast’s clothing in “Magic to Do” to the knightly apparel of Spamalot’s “All for One” to the interpretations of male fashion in the all-girls number “We Are the Boys,” the costumes played an important role in setting the scene and giving life to the show.
The first half closed with each cast member emerging from the wings one by one or in pairs, barefoot and dressed in all black. The song chosen was “Louder than Words,” the Act I closing number from Tick, Tick...Boom!, a musical about life changes and working in the arts written by Jonathan Larson, the late composer of RENT. The song moved from soloist to soloist, each singing a verse that contained questions about love, pain and choices, many of the same questions that members of the audience have probably asked themselves.
The second act was full of old and new favorites, from the captivating “Show-Off” from The Drowsy Chaperone to “Ireland” of Legally Blonde: the Musical, whose humor and Boston accent was flawlessly executed. Gypsy’s “Together Wherever We Go” and “Run Freedom Run” from Urinetown rounded out the diverse and impressive lineup of showtunes.
“The unique thing about BMR—besides the intense amount of sparkles,” DiBartholomeo said, “is the strong sense of community. Many people in BMR have majors unrelated to theater or spend the year playing various sports. But we all come together for BMR. Our motto is essentially ‘Love and Sparkles’ because we all love each other and the work we do, and we do it looking fabulous.”
Not only did BMR entertain, they also transported. Audience members were taken by the hand and brought from Page Commons to the bright lights of Broadway. The range and success of each number created a hit. “I think tons of people look forward to BMR because we guarantee a night of lighthearted entertainment,” DiBartholomeo joked. “They come for the music and stay for the popcorn.”