College students tend to be known for sleeping in on Saturday mornings. This is not so for the 27 actors, singers and dancers gathered in the Christiansen orchestra room, fighting back yawns and putting aside homework for the final music run-through of Fresh Faces ’19.
After brief vocal warm-ups and stretches, Dario Villalobos ’18 starts to play the opening riff of the show’s first group number, “It Sucks to Be Me” from Avenue Q, and the rehearsal begins. “Welcome to Fresh Faces ’19!” they sing at the end of the number, before moving on to the next piece.
This performance will be the eighth annual Fresh Faces cabaret. Deep End APO began the show to create a student-directed cabaret allowing first years from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests to participate in musical theater. Everyone who auditions performs in the cabaret. In this respect, Fresh Faces ’19 is the same as ever. Villalobos serves as music director and arranger (he also wrote all of the music for the pit), Rosie Linsner ’18 co-directs, Gabby Dominique ’17 co-directs and leads movement and Stuart Gordon ’18 is the assistant music director.
The theme of this year’s show will be “Home.”
“It’s not just the cheesy sense of home because these are freshmen and they are leaving, but it’s also about how to find home when you are in transition and you don’t know where to go. Home can be other people, or not just a typical place,” Linsner said.
“I really wanted to work on this song cycle that I’ve been thinking of about the refugee crisis and the discussion going on around the world right now and the media not advertising it as the big issue that it is. It is so undertalked,” Villalobos, an international student from Costa Rica, said.
Eight thousand Cuban refugees attempting to emigrate to the United States were stuck in Costa Rica for three months, a conundrum which struck Villalobos personally.
“There is no better way to address this than to have the incoming class sing about this because they’re coming into this new place,” he said.
The biggest way Fresh Faces ’19 will be different from previous years is that the performance has a narrative, rather than being a loose medley of songs. Segues are very polished, and close listening to the lyrics shows a definite story progression, as the directors intended.
“One of our biggest ideas was that this would be very smooth. It’s going to flow and be one cohesive story. In the past it’s been more of a song cycle, which is great, but we wanted to tell a story and have it mean something to the audience,” Linsner said. “The show is really focused on acting, and there’s not a lot of dancing but quite a bit of movement and blocking.”
As for the cast of Fresh Faces ’19, audience members are in for a treat when they hear the group. Everyone is featured at some point in the show, and everyone has a chance to shine. The well-meshed chorus of powerful voices provides a beautiful and robust support system for featured vocalists and is not to be ignored. Perhaps it coincides with Linsner’s comment that home can be found in unconventional places.
Be sure to catch Fresh Faces ’19 on April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Pause. You won’t regret it. The cast and directors agree.
“This show, although it may seem for fun or what freshmen do, has depth and a wide range of emotion that the audience will experience,” Aaron Telander ’19 said.
“The audience should be pumped for Fresh Faces because of the wide range of talent and all the energy we will bring. I hope the audience will see all our camaraderie,” Margaret Lindahl ’19 said.
“Fresh Faces is an energy-filled show with a lot of heart and talent musically and dramatically,” Kaci Campbell ’19 said.
Villalobos emphasized that audience members should come to the show with no expectations.
“Just keep in mind what it’s been like for you growing up, where you’ve been, and what have been some highlights in the timeline of your life. If anything, bring your ears to the show, sit there, really pay attention to those lyrics and let the cast take you on this journey,” he said.