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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Theres no way to describe it: the 24 hour musical

Published: September 15, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

How do you review the 24 hour musical? Actors and actresses forgot lines, didnt sing on tune and didnt arrive on cue. They did not speak loud enough, overacted, and stumbled through the choreography. Yet, the audience was on the floor laughing, awed at the love scenes, and gave the production a standing ovation. Was this contradictory? Probably to anyone who doesnt know what the 24 hour musical is all about.

The 24 hour musical is about having fun, giving a play a shot, and improvising when necessary. The goal of the 24 hour musical isnt to put up a professional production, commented Britanny Erlich '07, Costume Designer for the show. Its to have a great time, bond with people and do theater in a way it usually isnt done.
Some memorable improvisations included the hysterical utterance of a horny Trekkie Monster, played by Dan Newman '09, running off stage holding his private parts shouting I need to go to the tennis courts. Another was when Princeton, played by Jacob Lazar '09, waiting on stage for Christmas Eve, pondered, I certainly wish Christmas Eve was here right now.

Three stars truly stood out on stage. Lazar, as the innocent, agreeable Princeton, played the role convincingly. He had an innocent, nave charm that fit the young, curious college graduate. The other major role was filled by Jackie Feinberg '10, who played the cute, sweet Kate Monster to a tee. When she sang, Theres a fine, fine line, her pauses were almost sentimental and meaningful.

But the real star was Missy Mlotek, playing Christmas Eve. Mlotek was loud enough for all the audience to hear, and her voice was right on target during her song, The more you love someone, the more you want to kill them.

Another fan favorite was Lauren Becker '08, who played Gary Coleman, and got a laugh on every smirk she threw out there, which seemed to be every thirty seconds. The Bad News Bears, Victoria Cohen '09 and Sara Tess Neumann '07, were also popular as they urged characters to get drunk and have sex.

Anna Rothman '09 and Frankie Amdurer '07 had a tough job of acting as male characters Rod and Nicky, but they pulled it off to the point that it wasnt obvious that they were actresses. Allison Glansberg 07, who saw the show on Sunday night, commented, I especially liked Nicky, since, if you didn't know her, you may not have actually been able to tell it was played by a female.

One reason the play succeeded despite the bungles was that the writing of Avenue Q is so clever and germane to the collegiate audience. The main character, Princeton, moves to Avenue Q, after receiving a B.A. in English, and, now that he is in the real world, searches for love, a job, and a purpose.

Another reason was the tireless work ethic of the production staff (literally). Director Cassie Seinuk '09 remarked, The balance between all the fun we had putting on this show and the sleepless work done by the whole production staff really lead to its success.

Considering Avenue Q is about puppets, and many of the actors had to play puppets, the costumes were certainly vital to the production. I tried to stay true to their original costumes to avoid confusion, but, in the end, it was all about the overall effect, Erlich stated. It was all about embracing the fundamental concepts of this project: experimentation, challenge, creativity and fun.

When Producer Jenny Paul '07 suggested the idea of Avenue Jew, Erlich knew she wanted to attempt a parody of the parody. Erlich said, I wanted to make the people the puppets. But figuring out how to do that in 24 hours is a very touch-and-go process, as the audience certainly witnessed.

Unfortunately, when the actors are spending the majority of the night trying to learn their music and their lines, it doesn't leave a lot of time for me to figure out how to
fix noses onto their faces, she continued.

Despite that challenge, audience members applauded the staffs work. The costumes were surprisingly good and detailed, for having been put together in 24 hours, Erica Jacobsen 08 said.

The other challenge, other than time, of course, was sleeplessness. I found it hard to stay calm and assertive without the luxury of sleep, but with such a supportive team, we all eventually got into the swing of things and it moved along very well, Seinuk stated.

Overall, the praise continued flowing into the week. Audience member Jacobsen concluded, The audience was very dynamic and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show, regardless of the quality. Glansberg agreed, stating, For an entire production done in 24 hours, it was really good. It is a funny show anyway, but the little mishaps just made it funnier.