BMR's 25th Anniversary Show is Uproarious Fun
Broadway Musical Revue, or BMR as it's more commonly known, struck again this past weekend. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the group, and, judging by the performance, BMR is not showing any signs of age yet. This was the seventh incarnation of BMR I've seen in my time at Colby (the groups puts on a show every semester), and I have to admit that, overall, it was probably the best show yet.
BMR is well-known for its emphasis on enthusiasm and energy at the expense of refinement, but all three were very much in abundance this time around. The dancing was crisp, well-choreographed and frequently hilarious. The actual singing, long the group's strongest asset, was as impressive as ever. There are 17 people in BMR, and every single one has a fantastic voice. Throughout the night, almost everyone was given an individual moment to shine, and no one disappointed.
This semester, there were four new additions to the group. Three of them, Mary Randall, Abby Crocker and Lindsay Garrard, are freshman, and the fourth is senior Annelise Wiersema. You never would have guessed that they were new from watching the show, however. They blended in skillfully with their veteran cast mates.
The show featured 18 different songs, culled from a wide range of Broadway shows. Classic songs that just about everyone knew (like "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors) were mixed in with lesser known items and a few that were utterly obscure. (Ever heard of Cops: The Musical? Me neither.) Each was given the same animated treatment, however, so even when I'd never heard a song before, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the show one bit.
The show got off to a rollicking start with a bright, flashy, whole-cast rendition of "Fame," from the musical of the same name. It set the upbeat tone for a show that was primarily made up of cheerful and inherently dance-worthy songs. Even some of the slower tunes were injected with strong dose of humor. Case in point: Sean Senior '10 sang "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago, which is a character's lament about how no one ever seems to notice him. In the context of the musical, it's a pretty depressing song. Depression doesn't really mesh with BMR, however. So, halfway through "Mr. Cellophane," several other cast members walked on stage and began to converse amongst themselves and the audience, oblivious to the song and dance going on behind them.
A highlight--from a show that didn't really have any lowlights--iwas "She's in Love" from the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid. Sung by the BMR's female members, it was lively and a lot of fun (and featured an uproarious cameo by Andrew Cox '10 as a mermaid). Plus, everyone wore seashell bras, always an added bonus. "His Name is Lancelot" from Monty Python's Spamalot, featured Andy Bolduc '10 being serenaded by a group of singers (all wearing sequins and too-tight pants) as they tried to convince him that he was secretly gay. It was a ridiculous song done ridiculous justice by all involved. An audience favorite was a rendition of "Hakuna Matata" reworked into an ode to the Colby student center entitled "Pugh, Page and Cotter." Try singing those three names to the tune of "Hakuna"--it works amazingly well.
Credit should be given to the show's four directors, Jenny Katzman '10, Jim Rockafellow '10, Sammee Jaff '11, and Savvy Lodge-Sharff '11. They obviously put a lot of work into the choreography and singing, and it paid off in spades. Their song together, "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate, was also quite entertaining.
BMR sold out all three of its performances. That's especially impressive when you consider the fact that BMR has always been, at its core, inherently nerdy. It's a revue of Broadway musicals, for crying out loud! Rather than shying away from this fact, the group manages to skillfully turn it on its head. BMR always embraces its nerdiness, and ratchets it up to levels that border on camp; a lot of their songs are delivered with a big grin and a wink. By doing this, BMR broadens its show's appeal. This includes appealing to people (like me) who don't even like Broadway musicals. BMR knows how to walk the fine line of respecting the source material while messing with it. The mentality of "Of course all of this is silly, but look at how much damn fun it is!" is positively infectious. It was enough to almost (almost) make me wish that I was dancing too.