Theater students explore their offbeat nature

As students enter the empty theater arts studio stage, some begin to study their songbooks, others have brought their costumes ready to rehearse, and the rest are giving their song sheets to accompanist Gary Gray. What are they getting ready for? The SMC musical theater workshop show titled "What the #/@% & was that?" an array of musical numbers from different musical shows.

Music director Karen Benjamin begins the class by asking her students to practice their scales, and all of the students sing together in perfect unison. When director Perviz Sawoski enters the room, the rehearsal is ready to begin as they go through the show as if it were opening night.

The musical numbers are varied and none have been decided which are to be first and which are to be cut, but the students give it their all.

The first number rehearsed is "What the F*#@ was that?" taken from the show, "Evil Dead: The Musical," and is a comical song about two guys (played by Christopher Canfield and Whit Smith) and their fear of zombies.

"I am Adolfo," from the show "The Drowsy Chaperone," is about Adolfo (played by Marcello Padilla) telling his love interest (Meka Richards) to not forget his name in a funny tango-esque number sure to make the audience laugh.

Most of the songs may be unrecognizable to the casual Broadway fan, but these performances will make them memorable to a first-time listener and viewer. "Over The Moon" from "Rent" is a great performance given by student Melhia Kyra Piot as she sings and talks about cows and the moon, among other things. Canfield gives a very poignant and emotional performance as he sings his heart out in "Real Live Boy," which is a twist on the originally titled "Real Live Girl" from "Little Me."

Among the recognizable tunes are song and dance numbers from "Newsies," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Spamalot," and "Legally Blonde," such as the funny "Positive," and hysterical "Bend and Snap."

"I think we're getting there but it still needs a lot of work," said Professor Sawoski on the rehearsal that seems fine to a regular audience member. But for true theater performers, lots of practice makes perfect.

If you want to see these performances in their glamour and glitz, and in full costume under bright lights, there will be a taste of the show this Thursday in the Theater Arts building starting sharply at 11:15 a.m. for free. If you want a whole serving of these great performances, the cast will perform this Friday through Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. with a $10 admission.

Take it from performer Julia Lenke: "It's a lot of fun, an eclectic variety of song numbers, it's fun to see and it's something for everyone."