October 13, 2016 | Theatre |
The University department of theatre will present the annual Homecoming musical Oct. 28-29 at 8 p.m. in Benson Auditorium. The 2016 musical, “Crazy for You,” is the most fun musical that you have never heard of, according to producer Cindee Stockstill.
“The biggest problem with this musical is that it isn’t very well known,” Stockstill said. “We were looking for something that we haven’t done before and could do with our current pool of talent when we were intrigued by this musical.”
Stockstill said that immediately following the previous year’s musical, the production team starts brainstorming ideas for the next musical. They pick musicals based on what they have done in the past because they do not like to duplicate musicals. “Crazy for You” premiered in February 1992 and produced a total of 1,622 performances. The musical is known as the new George Gershwin musical comedy and is based on the 1930 musical “Girl Crazy.”
The romantic comedy follows Bobby Child, a man forced by his mother to close down a small town theatre. When this threatens his budding romance with Polly Baker, he instead chooses to put on a play in the theatre to pay off the bank and win her over.
Thomas Williams, a senior Bible and ministry major, plays Bobby Child, one of the leads in the musical. Stockstill said that Williams is on stage almost the entire show singing and dancing. She said the three lead characters are doing an extraordinary job.
“We’ve enjoyed working with them and watching them perform as well as just getting to be with them,” Stockstill said. “It’s a fun show, and the students are all having fun doing it, which makes it fun to go to rehearsals.”
Renee Maynard, a senior vocal music education major, plays Polly Baker in the show. She described her character as very expressive and opinionated and never afraid to let the other characters know exactly what she is thinking or feeling.
“My favorite part about this experience has been getting to push myself as an actor,” Maynard said. “Being able to get inside [Polly’s] head and stretch my emotional capabilities has been such as thrill.”
Maynard said that she is excited to welcome family from Illinois, Tennessee, Texas and Indiana who are all coming to campus Homecoming weekend to see the show.
“Homecoming weekend is basically a giant family reunion,” Maynard said. “Everyone should come see ‘Crazy for You’ because it is a show jam-packed with humor, disguises, stage fights and — most importantly — a lot of heart. The music is classic and familiar, but the show is new and filled with surprises that the audience will go crazy for — pun intended!”
According to Stockstill, the musical required three student choreographers because of how much dancing it incorporated, and the set spins and has lighting built into it that shines through. The musical incorporates songs from six separate productions including “Embraceable You,” “I Got Rhythm,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
“We love Gershwin music, and we thought that it would be fun for our audiences,” Stockstill said. “It’s New York City showgirls meet wild West cowboys in the 1930s — a romantic comedy with some mistaken identities woven through it.”
Maynard said the cast is lucky to have such a talented ensemble, and she has loved working with Stockstill and Robin Miller, the department of theatre chairman.
“Cindee Stockstill is a national treasure,” Maynard said. “She and Mr. Miller have been brilliant educators and mentors to the rest of the cast and me.”
Stockstill said the students grow exponentially while working on the show. According to her, the casts’ excitement and level of skill grows until there is an amazing product on stage.
“What I love about my job is the process of watching these students when the light goes on, and you see them start to feel good about what they are doing,” Stockstill said. “I love to see the students experience the success and rewards of their hard work.”
Tickets can be purchased at hardingtickets.com or at the box office for $15. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $18. Immediately following the musical, join the cast for a meet and greet in the student center. For more information, contact the box office at 501-279-4255.