Moriah Hunter ’20
Best of Broadway was broadcasted as a must see performance for the semester, and it certainly didn’t fall short of being Broadway worthy. Audience members were put through a barrage of emotions ranging from lively and exciting to emotional and heartwarming. Such a range of emotion was made possible through the song choice, and quite obviously, the hard work from the performers. The performers were challenged with songs from various Broadway favorites such as Les Mis, Grease, and Into the Woods. Many of the participants can admit that the setup, execution, and behind the scenes work was no cake walk, but was certainly worth all the hard work in the end. Three of the participants in the performance were willing to give the IU community an inside scoop on the real work that went into making this Broadway production a hit.
Freshman Zechariah Howard debuted his IU career in Best of Broadway and secured himself three solos in the show with a grand total of five show appearances. This left Zech with a lot to say about the performance and fellow performing students. One of the points Zech really stressed was the hard work and collaboration that came from everyone in the performance. Alongside group practices, everyone was expected to also practice on their own. Zech said that this really forced everyone to rely on and trust each other, because everyone had to pull their own weight. If you weren’t doing your part, then the performance could quickly go downhill. Zech also spoke a lot on the difficulties and obstacles that were faced by many in the performance, such as collaborating with the pit when it came to show time. “We only sang with recordings of the songs up until two days before the first show, then we started working live with the pit.” Zech admitted that this required a bit of adjusting from the performers since singing along to live music is obviously much different than singing with a recording that plays the same way over and over. Zech also faced some difficulties of his own, the main one being running out of air! “I’d never really had to sing and dance at the same time before.” admitted Zech. He said dancing while singing his parts took a lot of breath out of him, so he had to work especially hard to make sure he could do it well without any missteps or falters. Zechariah stated that overall he thoroughly enjoyed the show and can’t wait to jump into his next big IU performance.
Although they typically go unseen, the talented performers in the pit never go unheard. The pit is where Freshman Amanda Miller spent her time and talent to make Best of Broadway successful. Amanda really admired how everyone, on stage and in the pit, worked in unison to truly make the performance spectacular. Amanda brought up the fact that everyone in the pit, similar to the performers, had to spend a lot of time practicing outside of the regularly scheduled practices. Everyone needed to make sure they had their notes right and were ready to collaborate with the group. “It took a lot of dedication from everyone.” Amanda said. She also spoke of her own personal struggle of having to completely rewrite her sheet music. Amanda admitted “I got kind of stressed out about having to rewrite the sheet music,” but she didn’t have to face her problem alone. She was assisted in rewriting the sheet music, which made the process much faster and less stressful for her. Even with a few stumbles, the pit’s music came out wonderful and Amanda gushed on how much of a great experience it was to take part in the production.
The biggest unsung heroes of a theater performance are typically the crafty stage crew, which is exactly where Madison Norman was on both nights of the show. Although she stayed invisible most of the night, Maddie was a huge part of making sure the show ran smoothly. Maddie and her fellow stage crew were in charge of assisting with quick changes, hair and makeup, and managing the curtains, all while still needing to remember when to run out on stage to add or remove props and microphones. Maddie stated that they mostly handled the quick changes for girls getting in and out of dresses, while everyone else took care of themselves. The process was similar for makeup, especially for those who may have struggled with putting it on themselves. Even though handling curtains seems like a fairly simple job, it’s not quite as easy as it looks. “It was really difficult making sure we got the curtains open and closed at the exact right times” claimed Madison, and that wasn’t even the end of it. Even after closing the curtains and swapping everyone into new clothes the stage crew occasionally had to help direct performers to the correct side of the stage for the next performance. We may not see the whirlwind of chaos backstage, but we can always be thankful to the stage crew for helping make a wonderful show. And of course, despite all the chaos, Maddie Norman can’t wait for the next performance she can run from behind the scenes.
The overall success of the show really was accredited to the cooperation and commitment from every corner of play production. Everyone stayed dedicated to the show, and most importantly, dedicated to each other. With students as dedicated and united as the ones here at IU, nothing less than amazing could even be expected for a big time performance. Stay aware of the spring performance next semester. It’s sure to be just as good, if not better, than IU’s very own Best of Broadway!