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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Bend it like Broadway’ provides students with directing experience


Imagine having the opportunity to craft together a theater production by getting to be in charge of the casting, lighting and all other various aspects that go into the making of a play or musical. Now take that idea, but as an undergraduate student, handling all of these various responsibilities.

Anna Otto and Aileen O’ Carroll, juniors in the College of Communication, are experiencing this through Marquette University Players Society (MUPS), which produces four student run productions a year. They created “Bend it like Broadway,” which was held at Straz Tower theatre on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night.

“It’s really on us to come up with something great to perform” Otto said.

“Bend it like Broadway” was formed as a way to perform various songs from musicals like “Book of Mormon,” “The Wiz,” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” but with a gender bend theme.

“We thought something funny was the ‘Book of Mormon”s ‘Hello,’ O’ Caroll said. “It’s all men, and we thought ‘Wouldn’t it be funnier if women did that?’ or ‘How would that sound?,”

One of the show’s numbers came from “Legally Blonde the Musical,” and used all their male cast members to sing “Bend and Snap,” a song that in the original musical was used as a way to attract Kyle who is Paulette’s main love interest. In “Bend it like Broadway,” it’s flipped where the male cast members are trying to attract nearby women using the ‘bend and snap’ technique.

After the second intermission, the show opened with a song from Rent, which was shut down immediately by cast member Michael Nicholas, a junior in the College of Communication.

“The ‘Rent’ bit was a joke from the start,” Nicholas said. “A lot of people consider ‘Rent’ to be an extremely cliche musical choice, and there were actually some groans on opening night when “Seasons of Love” began to play. Luckily we got exactly the reaction we wanted when Lindsay burst in and put us in our place; the audience laughed, cheered and applauded.”

An interesting thing about the production was how all of the songs seemed to play out like a story with the cast members interacting with each other throughout the show.

“Sometimes we borrowed the scene before the song comes up, or we added on to it,” Otto said.

For “Bend and Snap,” both Otto and O’ Carroll wrote the scene where Nicholas is wishing he could be just as cool as some of the others classmates that are walking past him.

“Now that I’m in the Theatre program at Marquette, I can still say the same thing: my friends are my biggest inspiration,” Nicholas said.

After spending much of his time back in high school singing in the choir and being a part of the musicals, Nicholas decided to become a theatre major at Marquette. Nicholas said the theatre department has some of the most hardworking people he’s met who have also been incredibly supportive of what he wants to do with his career.

“Whenever I’m onstage with them, I’m at my absolute happiest,” Nicholas said. “I’ll never forget this year’s musical revue experience, and I absolutely can’t wait for next year’s.”

The cast members all played a fictionalized version of themselves to help better connect to the musicals they were celebrating throughout the show.

“We wanted to use our real names in the opening song (‘Hello’ from the ‘Book of Mormon’) as well, but because of the recording we find we were not able to do that,” Otto said.

Members from the cast also played instruments during some songs.

In the future both O’ Carroll and Otto hope to have an opportunity like this again. They said they greatly enjoyed this experience, and plan on doing a senior capstone similar to this event for next year.

“This has been great for us, as musical theatre is our passion and what we are interested in and what it takes to do for senior year,” O’ Carroll said. They have a deadline by early fall for what they want do for their capstone project, but they are hoping to put on another musical revue.

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