11th Annual Broadway Review: A smashing success

By Staff Writer Tighe Ratcliffe.

From November 2nd to 3rd, the Umass Dartmouth Theatre Company (TCo) put on their 11th annual “Broadway Revue.” And like always, TCo wowed the crowed with big musical numbers, flawless choreography, and heartfelt performances. The Torch was there to give our review, of TCo’s revue, of the best of what Broadway has to offer.

Those attending were entertained with 24 musical numbers from 20 different shows, a truly wide variety. The show was directed by Cj Rodriguez who enthusiastically introduced each act before they performed. After the show, the Torch asked Rodriguez a few questions about directing Broadway Revue, his first full scale production. Rodriguez, who does professional dancing, choreographed the entire show. When asked about the harder scenes to choregraph, Rodriguez replied: “Definitely ‘Cell Block (Tango),’ it was a little hard getting all the girls together on the same counts, but that’s the fun of choreographing. I took some choreography from the movie, and the choreography from the movie is not easy at all, and I’m super proud of my girls for being able to do it.” Which he should be. The “Cell Block Tango,” a famous number from Chicago, and was one of the best acts of the night. Many in the audience sang along with the number. When asked about his favorite song to work with, Rodriguez enthusiastically replied: “Definitely the ‘Cell Block Tango.’ Chicago the musical as itself holds a very special place in my heart, it’s one of my favorite musicals.”  All the scenes were very impressive, and when asked about the timeframe he had to direct them, Rodriguez responded: “We had rehearsals starting from the middle of September, Tuesdays and Thursdays, up till now.” The amount of time and effort certainly payed off, because there was a large crowd in the auditorium Friday night.

The Torch also pulled aside two of the actors from the show to ask them how they felt performing some of these famous numbers. Jocelyne Couto, a sophomore Music Performance major with a concentration in Jazz Voice performed “Diva’s Lament” from Spamalot. In this number the “Diva” laments on how she hasn’t had a part yet in the show, and she’s only now finally getting her solo in the middle of act 2. Couto was the literal embodiment of a Diva as she sang “Whatever happened to my part?” She seemed to steal the show, and when asked about it she humbly responded: “I stole the show? *laughs* I was just a character, and the character wanted to steal the show, so I tried my best.” Couto certainly did let her inner Diva out, and it blew the audience away.

Kenzi Farland, who is a junior studying Political Science and Pre-Law, graced the Torch with a short interview. Farland is no stranger to performing on stage, and in her time here a Umass Dartmouth she has performed many roles with both TCo and 20cent Fiction, the two theatre companies on campus. Of which she is on both Eboards. But out of all the performances she’s been a part of, Farland was particularly excited about one of her scenes in Broadway Revue: “My favorite part of being in the show was definitely getting to sing from one of my dream roles, Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do before I die, and there, I did it.” In the song “Bring On the Men,” Farland along with an ensemble of other female cast members seductively cried out “We say bring on the men and let the fun begin.” And with that the fun certainly did begin, as Farland and the other girls began parading around on stage in lingerie. Hopefully someday Farland will be able to be in the actual production of Jekyll and Hyde so she can truly get one of her favorite roles of all time.

There were many other memorable acts in the show. Sean Mahony wowed audience members with his part in “The Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton when he busted out a fast rap. And who could forget the feeling of being alive when Dennis Fox did a rendition of “I’m Alive” from Next to Normal. And the whole auditorium got hot and flustered when the full male Ensemble performed “Big Spender” from Fosse. Other noteworthy acts included “Money, Money, Money” from Mamma Mia, “I’d Rather Be Me” from Mean Girls, and “The Destruction” from Carrie The Musical. But the audience got a real treat with a sneak peek at “Bend and Snap” from Legally Blonde, which TCo is putting on from November 8th – 11th.

It was obvious that everyone in the show worked really hard and put everything they had on the stage. Even though TCo has been doing Broadway Revue for 11 straight years now, it still feels fresh and new each time they do it. If you’re the kind of person that loves Broadway musicals, but doesn’t have the time or money to go to see a large number of shows, this is your solution. TCo’s Broadway Revue gives you the opportunity to see a large sample of some of the best that Broadway has to offer, with some of the best performers that Umass Dartmouth has to offer. If you’re upset that you missed this years performance though, don’t fret. You’ll get an opportunity to see them again next year for their 12th annual Broadway Revue.

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