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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Missed cues and makeshift costumes culminate in another imperfectly perfect 24 Hour Musical

Published: September 27, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc., Featured

Every year at Brandeis, Hillel Theater Group produces a performance of the 24-Hour Musical. Within one day, actors learn songs and lines, dancers practice and crew members make costumes and craft stage decorations. This year’s musical was “Beauty and the Beast: Tale as Old as Torah.”

Much of the musical was just like the original, but there were a number of Jewish touches to the show. Lumiere, for example, is a menorah rather than a candelabra. Belle’s father wears a kippah, which a character named Lefou finds and remarks, “Finders kippahs!”

The musical is in no way supposed to be perfect; Instead, the imperfect performances are what makes the 24 hour musical so charming. “It was a great opportunity to laugh at yourself. You would physically and psychologically deteriorate in front of your castmates, but that was the point. It was all in great fun, and once it was over, you’d feel as though you could accomplish anything,” said Chris D’Agostino ’17 who played Lumiere.

The show was a smashing success before it even started. The lineup for tickets began an hour before the tickets were sold, as students lined up outside the SCC to secure their tickets. People walked by the SCC during the 24 hours before the show to see what was going on inside. When the doors finally opened, there was a mad rush for seats inside.

Throughout the entire show, there was constant laughter and cheer. The mistake-free parts gave the audience the opportunity to see how talented Brandeis’ actors and actresses are. Even the flawed parts, like the performance of “Be Our Guest,” were hilarious and equally as fun to watch. Because the audience understood that the musical was learned and rehearsed in only a day, it was easy to appreciate the show. It was amazing to see how much could be done in 24 hours.

Margot Grubert ’17 and Steven Kline ’14 shined as Belle and Beast, respectively, as the audience watched their characters fall in love. There was excitement all around as familiar songs such as “Belle (Little Town),” “Something There” and “Tale as Old as Time.” However, the true star of the show could have been Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel who played the witch that casts the enchantment on the prince and his household. I’m usually not a knee-slapper when I laugh, but when the witch unveiled herself (or himself, in this case) I doubled over. Another comical character was Jason Kasman ’16, who played a traditional observant Jewish narrator.

There was thunderous applause for the entire cast, production staff and tech crew. The musical
was, by all means, imperfectly perfect.