On Saturday evening we went to "Selections From Broadway" presented by the UHS May Play Society.
A week before showtime the kids found out they didn't actually have the legal rights to perform "Sweeney Todd," as they had planned, so in the timeless theatrical tradition of "the show must go on," director David DeMarco and his team scrambled and completely revamped the production.
The first act comprised most of the "Sweeney Todd" songs. Troy Macie played the murderous Demon Barber with spirited malice; Dina Spyropoulos was his accomplice, the inventive pie-baker Mrs. Lovett; and Jeremy Do and Alex Koban-Hogue were young lovers Anthony and Johanna (Jeremy got a raucous cheer from his friends in the audience at their first kiss).
We were astonished at how professionally the kids handled the Stephen Sondheim songs, notoriously some of the most challenging in musical theater. We also loved the clever set (designed by stage manager Megan Belgam and moved by the quick, silent ninjas of the stage crew).
The mash-up of "Johanna"/"16 Going on 17" was hilarious, an instant classic.
Act 2 consisted of songs from "Phantom of the Opera," "Annie," "Sound of Music," and "Les Miserables." It was so wonderfully done that if you didn't know the back story, you'd never have known that it was pulled together in only a week, complete with costumes and choreography.
Jeremy Do, this time as Valjean, sang a moving, show-stopping "Bring Him Home" from Les Miz. After the show a parent told me that it was Jeremy's first time on stage. I almost couldn't believe it: his first show EVER, and he comes out on stage for a solo completely poised and absolutely nails it. Magic!
It was my mother's first time ever at a UHS show. She had read my reviews over the years and thought I was just being kind with my generous praise. But after the first act, she said she was shocked at how talented the kids were and what fabulous voices they had.
"I feel like I'm at a Broadway show," she said. "I can't believe these are high-school kids!" She was still talking about the show at breakfast the next morning.
I was pleased to note that there were a number of freshmen in the cast, so we can look forward to more of these wonderful shows for years to come.