New musical ‘steals’ the stage
“A hoot n’ hollerin’ good time!” These words perfectly sum up “The Robber Bridegroom,” the newest musical from the Department of Communication and the Arts playing this and next weekend at the SOPAC.
“The Robber Bridegroom” tells the story of Jamie Lockhart, a man who has two sides: one as an ordinary person and the other as the “Bandit of the Woods.” Jamie rescues a rich farmer, Clement Musgrove, and, to thank him for rescuing him, Musgrove offers Jamie marriage to his daughter Rosamund.
Rosamund eventually stumbles upon the Bandit of the Woods, and they soon fall in love, not knowing who the other truly is.
Throw in Salome, Clement Musgrove’s scheming second wife, and two villainous bandits, and chaos ensues.
This is the first department musical in 18 years and director Peter Reader said he “wanted to do something based on a book.” “The Robber Bridegroom” is based on a novel by Eudora Welty, which is, in turn, loosely based on the Grimm fairy tale of the same name.
“It was difficult to put together the production team, especially having to plan a lot of it off campus,” Reader said.
“Everything came together in the end, though, and the team we assembled is great to work with.”
Another challenge for the cast was putting the whole production together in one month.
“It’s different from doing just a regular play, because there isn’t just acting and lines to learn about, there is also dancing and singing to learn,” sophomore Bill Torres, who plays Jamie Lockhart, said.
Melissa Murray, who plays Rosamund, said, “You have to balance all those rehearsals with school work as well.”
Jess Kohler, stage manager for the show, says it is also different technically.
“It was a whole new experience tech-wise because we had to work with a lot of new equipment as well as a new pit,” she said.
It is not just challenges for the cast and the crew, however.
Reader observed that things started to change as the show developed.
“As the show comes together, and everything starts to piece together, the show becomes more enjoyable to watch, as well as being a lot funnier as the actors start really getting serious about their characters,” he said.
Kohler said that “the show has given me a better appreciation for theater.”
The cast and crew have provided insight into what the show is like.
“It’s a comedy with light touches of dark humor,” Kohler said. “It’s funny to watch and it makes the audience feel as if they are truly there, in Mississippi, with the characters.”
Tessa Giordano, assistant stage manager, added that the show, “really breaks the fourth wall between the chorus and the principal actors by having them interact in ways not often seen in stage musicals, as well as giving the cast and audience the chance to interact more than usual.”
Students can experience the “rollicking good time” themselves by going to SOPAC this weekend and next at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Mary Kate Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.