This year’s Broadway Night, put on by TCNJ Musical Theatre (TMT) in the library auditorium, was all about contrast. Drama mixed with comedy, up-tempo songs went back-to-back with soulful ballads and performers sang about everything from finding hope as a wicked witch to unfortunate erections. The only thing consistent throughout the production was the amount of fun the audience was having.
The show, which ran from this past Thursday to Saturday, featured over 20 performances, each from a different Broadway play. Accompanied on the piano by Brian Michalowski, junior music major, and Truc-Van Lu, sophomore communication studies major, each performer tried to capture the spirit of their number while adding their own special touch to it.
“Everyone auditions with a song of their choice,” Brian McGrath, senior history major who chose to perform “Epiphany” from the macabre musical “Sweeney Todd,” said. McGrath sunk into the role of the title character during the song, which chronicles Sweeney Todd’s descent into a violent mayhem.
“I wanted to do something a little different,” he said.
The order of the songs helped keep the production fresh. Sophomore Steven Klett’s performance of “Can’t Stand Still” from Footloose transitioned seamlessly into more dramatic fare like “I Need to Know” from Jekyll and Hyde, performed by Jerry Tower, sophomore history major.
Sara Truluck, sophomore music education major who performed “My Child Will Forgive Me” from Parade, talked about why she selected the ballad from the lesser-known musical.
“Everybody usually does happy-go-lucky shows. (The production) needed diversity,” she said. “Parade’s a different show with a lot of emotion. I’ve known it and loved it for a while.”
The entire production was student-run, from freshmen Zach Mazaout and Jaimie Bass’ playful choreography of opening song “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray” to the comical introductions to each song, delivered by James Introcaso, junior communication studies major, and other students. Truluck explained that the responsibility placed on the students made things hectic at times, but was ultimately rewarding.
“During a few rehearsals, some of the group numbers were askew,” she said. “But everything came together at the dress rehearsal.”
One of the show’s many highlights came right before the intermission, as the male members of the production emerged from the audience to deliver an unbilled performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side” from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” The performers even pulled audience members onto the stage during the song’s finale to create a sprawling can-can line under the bright lights.
“The audience participation was great!” McGrath said. “It’s always fun when people are willing to get up on stage and act like fools.”
TMT’s Broadway Night has long been a crowd favorite, and because of the talented crop of performers, this year was no different. Each song was handled with a spirited passion, and was met with an equal amount of applause. For the students, however, the showcase was all about having fun with some Broadway staples. Whether singing “Inside me are treasures that glow!” or “They all deserve to die,” it’s clear that the dedicated performers were doing what they loved.