By Jonathan Perreira, Staff Writer
The UMASS Dartmouth Theatre Company has been hosting its Broadway Revue for ten years. Originally held in the Center of Visual and Performing Art’s Auditorium, this year’s showing was astounding and at an unprecedented scale.
A full two-hour performance in the Campus Center’s main auditorium with gorgeous and dynamic lighting that competes against the other theatric performances put on by the companies.
The show consisted of songs and show tunes from popular musicals, which includes Hamilton, Dear Evan Hanson, and Wicked. The show was directed by Jeremy Drolet and hosted by Lionel Lafleur, the first host ever in a Broadway Revue.
In an interview, Lafleur described the show as “a cabaret of all different kinds of songs from all different kinds of musicals.”
The songs were performed with mostly original choreography and blocking, and lots of them had a twist.
Some songs were performed in Acapella, others with props, and three with complete audience interaction.
The best moments in the show were taken by Lafleur’s character as he segwayed songs, or participated in them himself.
He played a character that was extremely invested in Broadway Revue and making sure it was happy and went well.
Drolet made the creative decision to have a host to remove the jumpiness between songs, and to give the audience the context some songs need. Also, it was hilarious.
There’s flashy lights, there’s dance numbers, and there’s hilarious hosts.
But how are the actual performances?
Each song has a distinct energy, executed in its own special way by the singers themselves.
Some songs had the audience sympathetic, or laughing, or even dancing in front of their seat.
One of the most powerful performances was by Maria Urbina, who sang a number from the acclaimed Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In The Heights.
Urbina described the rehearsal process as challenging due to scheduling conflicts.
She expressed lasting confidence in every performer’s ability– the only issue that ever came up was that the cast couldn’t be in the same room at the same time to practice the choreography for the big numbers.
Urbina said, “even if they couldn’t dance, they tried and pulled it all together.”
Her performance, which went on after intermission, had the audience cheering and applauding like no other song, but that may have just been her excited family.
After intermission, there was a special performance held by 20 Cent Fiction. The cast of the upcoming musical Heathers performed the opening number “Beautiful” as a sneak peek.
The sneak peek truly left me hungry for more, despite never seeing the movie or show in my life.
The performance was followed by many more incredible, funny, and moving songs by the talented Broadway Revue cast, ending with a striking, high-energy performance of Hair.
This was my first Broadway Revue, and I’m convinced it won’t be my last.
Check it out next year, or see more of UMASS Dartmouth Theatre Company’s musical talent in the spring show Rock of Ages.