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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The (other) ‘Wild Party’ on campus

Published: November 5, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

sex on the mind: ‘The Wild Party’ is about the passionate relationship between a vaudeville dancer Queenie (Anneke Reich) and Burrs (Zach Greenberg).
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

I know that there has been much talk on campus about Pachanga and its aftermath, but it is important to note that Pachanga wasn’t the only crazy booze-fueled party that was going on at Brandeis the weekend of Oct. 23.

The other fiesta on campus was also booze-filled and packed with scantily clad students. Wondering why you weren’t invited?

Well, the party that I’m talking about was—of course—Tympanium Euphorium’s production of Andrew Lippa’s controversial musical “The Wild Party.”

The production was directed by Abby Armstrong ’13, stage managed by Deirdre Connelly ’13 and produced by Andrew Litwin ’11.

“The Wild Party” is based on a book-length poem by Joseph Moncure March about the Roaring Twenties.

Andrew Lippa’s musical takes place in 1929 in a prohibition-stricken New York City. “The Wild Party” tells the story of Queenie (Anneke Reich ’13), a vaudeville dancer, and Burrs (Zach Greenberg ’12), a clown.

Their relationship is filled with passion, intensity and—no pun intended—drama.

After a particularly vicious fight, Queenie decides to throw a party to make Burrs jealous. All of their friends are in attendance, including Kate (Zoey Hart ’13), Queenie’s friend who has a thing for Burrs—and a mysterious stranger Mr. Black (Nick Maletta ’13) who quickly falls in love with Queenie.

From the very beginning of the show, it was clear that sex was on the brain; the audience was greeted by the cast of 13, clad in only boxers and lingerie, telling the story of Queenie and Burrs’ meeting and subsequent relationship and setting up the plot to follow.

The musical was intense to say the least. Major plot points featured drug abuse, sexual assault, adultery, suicide and murder.

However, the darkness was beautifully balanced with comic relief provided by the show’s fabulous ensemble including characters like Madelaine True—played by Jamie Perutz ’13—a lovely lady who is on the lookout for a “good-natured, old-fashioned lesbian love story” and brothers (lovers) Oscar and Phil D’Armano played by Jason Dick ’14 and Dotan Horowitz ’12.

The cast effortlessly pulled off the almost impossible feat of seamlessly moving between individual solo parts and a collective ensemble. They managed to make the big group numbers as musically engaging as individual solo bits and the harmonies were incredible thanks to musical directors Mindy Cimini ’12 and Yoni Battat ’13.

Dance numbers were rehearsed and executed to perfection and fights were thrilling—and jarringly realistic—thanks to the work of dance choreographer Kayla Dinces ’12 and fight choreographer Danielle Zipkin ’12.

The set—designed by Robert Orzalli ’11—was visually stunning, featuring the three rooms of Queenie and Burrs’ home.

Costumes—designed by Jessica Rasp ’13—transported the audience back to the ’20s with flapper dresses and smart suits.

Overall, this production was a “Wild Party” indeed. It left me deeply impressed by everyone involved and excited for future Tymp performances!