String music is subtle, dramatics often overt, and combining these two opposing forces is never easy. Drama director Lindsay Painter and orchestra director Lorelei Weimar collaborated once on the theatre production of Annie, with accompaniment by the band and orchestra, to spectacular results. In their second collaboration, May 3’s A Night on Broadway, a medley of songs from hit musicals, the results were more hit-and-miss; the group numbers are often thrilling and entertaining, with only one or two sloppily organized or too-quiet numbers marred what otherwise would have been a perfect showcase of the drama department and orchestra department’s abilities.
The orchestra, let me say that the orchestra was for the most part on point: neither too intrusive, nor too invisible. Even during the most intense moments of singing or dancing, the well-organized and seamless performance by the orchestra was never too obscured to notice, and only very rarely were the solo singers not loud enough to cover the sound of the orchestra. The string performance was, without a hitch, consistent across all nine songs, but its best showcase was in the instrumental song “Amerika”, which led the list of songs.
The drama department, however, was not quite as consistent. On some songs, like the strangely organized and a little bit awkward “Nothing Like A Dame” (featuring the males of the drama department), the performance was simply not up to snuff. Luckily, most of the males in that song had well-done roles in other songs. On another song, “Matchmaker”, the orchestra was just a little bit too loud for the audience to hear three of the drama program’s most talented singers (Cristina Trujillo, Mallory Steffes, Hava Goldstein) over the strings. However, with the possible exception of a risqué song from the second act, “Big Spender”, every other song was dynamite. The big group medleys like the show’s closing song “The Age of Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine” (from the musical Hair) were bright and galvanizing, doing nothing better than what they were intended to do: showcase the immense reservoir of talent in the school’s drama department, even from those who weren’t prominent in plays like Pirates of Penzance or Annie.
Perhaps the best two songs, though, were the two that featured the drama department’s seniors most heavily: the chilling “Seasons of Love” from RENT, which was composed of the school’s best talent, or the sentimental “What I Did For Love”, when the drama department’s seniors sang at their best in a song about experiences past and future. This, in concert with the introductions of every song by departing seniors from the orchestra, made for a farewell showcase that was sentimental as well as entertaining; how could something so important for the departing seniors, their last show, be too severely indicted for a few hiccups or small faults? It seems somehow unfair to assign a score to this showing.
Jake Bittle / A&E Editor