LMT shows Laurier how to party

This weekend Laurier Music Theatre (LMT) staged College: The Musical on campus at the Theatre Auditorium.

The story is situated in the common room of Residence Apartment 420 – the greatest party room on campus.

It brings together a range of stereotypical college students whose primary focus is to get drunk and avoid the responsibilities of school.

Director Greg Evans described it as a satirical look at the college lifestyle, stating, “It’s the way you think university is going to be when you’re in high school – partying, hooking up and a lot of drinking.”

The musical was smart and funny and while it captured some of the truths of college life, it also incorporated many of the clichés associated with college students. In addition to exploring the social atmosphere of school, the musical accentuated the students’ journey of self-discovery and path to the future.

Evans acknowledged that it also showcased “the tough life of students as well – putting the face on, partying, being happy all the time and then having to deal with the other stresses as well.”

The music itself consisted mostly of simple, upbeat pop songs which were well-performed by the cast. There were little to no technical hiccups and the show ran pretty smoothly.

Evans credited choreographer Katie Owens as one of the hardest working members of the LMT team.

Brandon Kuepfer and Laura Fujita put on solid performances as the musical’s lead actors. Kuepfer took on the role of Nathan, a freshman enamoured with college life, who soon finds himself involved with Katharine (Fujita).

The two begin an awkward relationship that faces the challenges of remaining faithful amidst the debauchery of a college lifestyle.

Drew Chester displayed his singing and acting talent in the role of chilled-out party host and all around cool guy Jay. Throughout the play Jay finds himself dodging the mean-spirited residence don Agnes played by Hilary Jones who also did a good job showcasing her powerful voice.

Comedic relief was provided by characters like the drunken gym-obsessed Eddie played by Shawn Trask, while Morgan Piette’s character Amy’s Red Bull consumption leading to uncontrollable bursts of excessively fast talking.

These performances were delivered in spite of the challenges associated with most of the cast getting sick the week of the shows.

Evans explained that the cast “were kind of disappointed because they might not have been hitting the notes they wanted to hit and performing the way they wanted to perform.”

Nevertheless, this was overcome by stashing water bottles all over the stage and the dedicated actors powering through their illnesses.

Despite being amusingly funny, many of the clichés and stereotypes of college and university were exaggerated at times and the play really only superficially spoke to today’s student. Nonetheless, Laurier Musical Theatre’s effort definitely shone throughout the weekend’s performances.

Writers Drew Fornaroal and Scott Elmegreen flew in from New York for the Saturday matinee show and spoke with The Cord about the inspiration for the musical.

“The musical is about the levels of intense emotion that we felt when we were at that stage of our lives,” explaining that the musical drew inspiration from their own experiences and observations of college life.

Evans reflected on LMT’s contribution to arts at Laurier, saying, “There’s a ton of talent at Laurier in singing, acting and dancing, and there’s no – at least academic way – to do that.”

He continued to say that LMT provides an outlet at Laurier for students with a passion for musical theatre.

In terms of personal reward, Evans laughed, “Everything I’ve learned about dancing, I’ve learned from LMT. I’m still not very good, but at least I know some things.”

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