Thursday, June 20, 2013

Theater Guest Blog: Showstoppers rehearsal offers fun challenges

Guest blog by Stefan Melnyk, Patel Conservatory Summer Theater Apprentice

Students rehearse choreography for Showstoppers: A Musical Revue

Patel Conservatory Theater students are preparing for an upcoming production of Showstoppers: A Musical Revue.

This exciting show will feature a collection of fully choreographed musical numbers from Broadway shows spanning the last several decades.

Rehearsals began on Monday, and the songs rehearsed served as a terrific demonstration of this eclectic approach, including “Seasons of Love” from the groundbreaking Rent, and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” from Cole Porter’s classic 1934 show Anything Goes.

The first half of the day was devoted to learning the vocals. All the students were unanimous in selecting “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” as the more challenging of the two songs, thanks in large part to its more complex harmonies and considerably faster tempo.

The students and instructors are acutely aware of being on an extremely tight schedule, packing a great deal of material into the intensive two-week production class.

“They put the ‘intense’ in ‘intensive,’” said Gabie Barnes, one of the students performing in the revue.

This pressure, far from defeating the students, clearly galvanized them and fostered a spirit of creative cooperation.

Parker Wilkson, the student accompanist on the production, felt precisely that contrast.

“I’m trying to sight read a lot of [the score],” he said, but added that the pressure would be beneficial in the long run. “I think I’ll get better overall as a musician over the next two weeks.”

The second half of the day was devoted to learning the choreography for the morning’s songs, a task that the students approached with admirable patience and ardor.

While the production is still in its early days, it does seem clear that the performers have more than enough talent and enthusiasm to push the show as far and as high as it can possibly go.

You can come relive some of your favorite show stopping Broadway musical numbers in Showstoppers: A Musical Revue on Jun. 27 and 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. in the Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center. For tickets, click here, or call 813-229-7827.

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