Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Three, two, one: Happy New Year! Well, it’s certainly going to be a fun and sexy new year for the characters of Celebration. The West Chester University Department of Theatre and Dance recently performed the musical Celebration in the E.O. Bull Center’s Mainstage Theatre. The play puts a twist to the clich love story with sexy dance moves and lustrous lyrics. Potemkin (Greg Offner), the deep voiced street leader, set the mood of the play right away through his poetic statement: “The day is being eaten by the night.” The play takes place on New Years Eve, so the daytime is precious to the characters because they live on the streets. There are 17 songs performed in this musical, varying from love songs to harmonious reprises. The opening number is performed by Potemkin and his street-followers, appropriately titled “Celebration.” The play also ended with this number.

We are then introduced to the Orphan (Tom Strawser) and his number “Orphan in the Storm.” Each song went wonderfully with the mood depicted in each scene, serving as transitions from one scene mood to another. We are then introduced to Mr. Rich (Mark Murphey), the “wealthy man/comic relief,” and Angel (Sheila Coyle), the “angel in disguise” street diva. Angel and Mr. Rich have a one-way relationship and while Mr. Rich attempts this odd pairing, Angel and the Orphan fall in love.

“I’m Glad to See” is the first song performed in the second act by Angel and the Orphan, and it immediately forces the audience to fall in love with them. The audience just cannot help but root for the Orphan to win his true love back from the comical, yet ill-mannered Mr. Rich. And sure enough, just as any love story ends, he wins his girl; however, not by taking her from Mr. Rich, because he doesn’t have the chance. Mr. Rich dies at the stroke of midnight, serving as an unfortunate, but lucky coincidence for the couple.

The play had a unique set as well, really taking the audience right to into the play. There were rope drapes hanging all of the way from the orchestra pit in the back of the stage to the top of the audience’s heads, really making it seem as though you were right there on the streets with the cast.

The lighting also had a large effect, allowing us to feel a chill when it was cold outside by shining blue lights and warm when the sun came up by shining yellow lights on the stage. There were also smaller lights strung at the top of the set posing as the stars for the real nighttime effect.

The cast and chorus did a wonderful job making this story come to life. The performances were right on with the characters and the voices were strong and powerful, making the songs very emotional. Celebration is the University’s first musical of the season and certainly set the bar high for upcoming shows.

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