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Musical Revue invites viewers to ‘stress tomorrow, laugh tonight’

Photo via facebook.com/marquetteuniversityplayerssociety

Photo via facebook.com/marquetteuniversityplayerssociety

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Freshman year was the first time current senior in the College of Communication Melia Gonzalez heard of the MUPS Musical Revue. She was enamored by the entire process. From the set to the song choice, it is the one truly student-run musical production on campus.

Revue is a style of musical, and not a typical musical that someone would head downtown on a Friday night to see. Instead, think of it as a musical mad lib.

“When I saw it performed, I said, ‘this is something that I want to do someday,'” Gonzalez said. “I want to be up there with my friends singing and having a good time. Everyone does want to live out some kind of dream, and this show is a great opportunity to have fun and do what you want to do.”

The MUPS Revue is a yearly tradition, but Gonzalez said there always seemed to be something hindering her participation. This year, seemingly out of nowhere, MUPS staff approached her to ask if she would direct the revue this spring.

“I’d love to,” Gonzalez said. Finally, it was coming together, but all of a sudden, there was another change of plans. She was asked to direct the Revue this semester as well.

“It was a bit overwhelming,” Gonzalez said. “We only had three weeks when we normally have five or six.”

Gonzalez, with suggestions from her cast mates and co-director, senior in the College of Communication Anna Otto, weaved together songs from “Rent,” “Shrek,” “Something Rotten!” and another surprise musical to create a storyline that she said will flow smoothly and keep audiences on the edge of their seats for the show’s 40-minute run time.

In only three weeks, Gonzalez, who refused to take any individual credit, crafted a fun, casual and free show where the audience can sit back, relax and just enjoy. She calls the project, “a collaborative baby” between her and the cast.

The show is a light-hearted collaboration from a range of popular musicals. One of their songs, selected from the musical adaptation of Shrek, has more fart jokes than a middle school classroom.

“Every single song is based around the motto of our show, ‘stress tomorrow, laugh tonight,’” Gonzalez said.

With a slight grin on his face, Jimmy Oddo, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, opens the show by breaking the fourth wall, saying, “It appears to be a play where the dialogue stops and the plot is conveyed through song.”

The line is especially impactful due to the small, intimate size of the Straz Tower theater — the audience can connect to the performers.

Offstage, Oddo said that setting the tone is important.

“This show is less obligation to be perfect, and more obligation to have fun,” Oddo said. “You’re gonna have a really good time listening to multiple really good musical theater songs, so just sit back and relax.”

Oddo has been acting since the fourth grade. He chose not to pursue theater as a career, but he still has a passion for the arts. His interest and experience helped him land a role in Revue.

Gonzalez originally struggled to find theater students to audition because of the rule that actors cast in a main stage show cannot act in Revue as well. She says she was desperately throwing out a line for anyone that would bite, but her campaign was surprisingly successful.

“When auditions came around, people walked in the door who I had no idea who they were,” Gonzalez said. “I had to turn a lot of good people away.”

Along with Oddo, one of those she didn’t turn away was Lindsay Webster, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“I’ve been doing theater since second grade,” Webster said. “Theater came first. Then civil engineering happened, and I kept both because I don’t like to choose.”

Webster, the treasurer of MUPS, said the production being entirely student run opens opportunities for a lot of students. She thinks this is an important aspect of the show.

“The people involved have a lot more say,” Webster said. “It’s student run through and through. You’re not confined to one way of doing it, so there’s a lot more freedom, and a lot more pride.”

For Webster, the highlight of the show is her trust fall from a 5-foot tall block into her castmates’ arms.

“You’ve gotta trust the people you’re working with,” Webster said with a wry smile.

The show opened yesterday, but another performance will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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