For those of you experiencing football withdrawal during spring semester for which Hurricane baseball will just not suffice, take a trip over to the Jerry Herman Ring Theater and see “the classic college musical” Good News!.
The musical is a witty, face-paced comedy surrounding the archetypal dilemmas of a student body whose every happiness depends on the outcome of the season’s last football game, when their star player may not even be able to participate. It’s a story we’ve all seen before (just insert different character and team names), but the cast from the Department of Theater Arts makes this version-set in the 1920s-seem fresh and new.
The plot is cute and upbeat. Tait College is playing the last game of the season for the conference championship in 1927. Tom Marlowe (played by Jonathon White) is the team’s star. As the big man on campus, Tom’s girlfriend is the big woman on campus, Pat Bingham (Rebekah Voss), whose father is ready to donate a large sum of money to the athletic department if Tom puts on a good showing in the game. The only problem is Tom is failing astronomy, taught by Coach Johnson’s (Michael Vojvodich) ex-college sweetheart, Professor Kenyon (Christy Sabina), who he is convinced is out for revenge. The drama swells as Tom falls for his tutor, Pat’s cousin, Connie (Cecilia Torres).
The vocals, in general, are above-average. The best by far is Torres as Connie, whose talent can really be seen in her trio with Professor Kenyon and Coach, “Together/My Lucky Star,” her duet with Tom, “The Best Things in Life are Free,” and her solo in the second act, “Just Imagine.” However, the vocals throughout the rest of the performance were not as impressive as the other aspects of the play. Especially annoying was the fact that even when the entire ensemble was singing together it was difficult to hear and understand the words.
The acting, on the other hand, is right on point-exaggerated caricatures of all the stereotypical college players. Hands-down, the best performance is Andrea Pettigrove’s Babe. As a supporting character, Babe steals the show. A Betty Boop-ish flapper, Babe is an over-the-top, heart-warming character. Pettigrove plays this role perfectly: Her facials are comical and she is extremely humorous and convincing.
But the highlight of the show is Clay James’ choreography. The steps and style are authentic to the time period, providing for a fun, roaring twenties atmosphere. Even better, though, is how precise and sharp each move is executed by the dancers. All the dance scenes are high-energy, getting the crowd excited and enthusiastic about what’s going on and what’s to come. The football tap number in the first act is sure to prove to be a crowd favorite, as its slow-motion reenactment of football practice is a hilarious incorporation of dance, sports and comedy and an excellent use of the tiny space the actors have to put on this show.
So, yes, its finals time and students are busy, but take a break from partying at Club Richter and get your school spirit flowing with a few laughs and fun times at this season’s Good News!
Dani McNally can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.