diences with their production of the opera Der Vampyr. Luckily for everyone who left that show wanting more, Lyric Theater is back at it again with their 2016 spring show, Light. This year’s production features a unique design and an original concept that should not be missed.
Several years ago, co-directors of the Lyric Theater James McKeel and Janis Hardy decided that Lyric Theater should provide student directors, choreographers and composers an opportunity to showcase their work by directing a spring opera, operetta, musical or musical revue. Ever since, the spring show has been produced exclusively by students.
The Music Department provides financial support and mentorship to students selected to direct a production but gives them as much creative freedom and responsibility as possible. Student directors are responsible for handling auditions, rehearsals, set, lighting, costume design and public relations. This year, Devon Steve ’17 was selected for the honor.
“Devon’s idea for Light was intriguing because it wasn’t just a musical revue, but a careful choice of musical songs that revolved around mental and physical health and gender issues. He asked Kjersten Lukken ’16 to write a script that would weave a story around the numbers and unify it,” McKeel said. “The issues involved are delicate and timely so they are working hard to be sensitive to them while still creating an entertaining revue.”
Lukken’s original script tells the story of eight intertwined individuals in New York City: Katie (Bee Lauer ’18), Levi (Gabe Salmon ’18), Marco (Zach Kubasta ’19), Jamie (Julia Woodring ’19), Ava (Samantha Noonan ’17), Clara (Julia Holden-Hunkins ’19), Johnny (JW Keckley ’17) and Dylan (Trevor Todd ’18). Each character deals with their own emotional, mental, and relationship struggles. The show features music from A New Brain, Avenue Q, Jekyll and Hyde, The Last Five Years, Next to Normal, Songs for a New World and motion pictures Moulin Rouge and Once.
A very talented creative team has worked on Light. Besides Steve as stage and musical director and Lukken as librettist and script supervisor, the show also boasts Garrett Bond ’19 as assistant music director and Emily Hynes ’18 as stage manager. In addition, Steve brought in three guest artists to help make the show better: McKeel for acting, Jared Miller ’17 for music and Gabrielle Dominique ’17 for movement and acting. McKeel praised this team highly.
“Devon and his creative team have been very good about auditioning, rehearsing, organizing schedules, etc – and they have been very good about taking constructive feedback. This bodes well for the production,” McKeel said.
Light will be performed May 12, 13 and 14, at 8 p.m. in the Christiansen Hall of Music Urness Recital Hall. Each show is free and open to the public, with first-come first-serve seating. Viewer discretion is advised, as the revue does include mature content and language. In addition, there are trigger warnings for physical abuse, bipolar disorder and suicide. The performances are sure to be enjoyable, but Steve emphasized that to get the most from the show one should come prepared to truly enter the world of the characters.
“An audience member will be taken on an emotional journey through the lives of these eight characters, only if he or she is willing to invest in the story,” Steve said. “The story is powerful and in order to really love a character, understand a character, identify with a character or even hate a character, the audience members have to allow themselves to enter into the story from the first note played on the piano.”