Baby: The Musical’ at SOPAC this weekend
What do a college-aged couple, a thirty-something couple, and a middle-aged couple have in common? In most cases, not much. With different ages come different beliefs, attitudes and goals. But in the musical “Baby,” the three age groups are united by one basic commonality – impending parenthood.
“Baby,” the first Seton Hall heatre production of 2012, is the story of three couples at different stages of life coping with the news that they all will be having children. Through the scope of drama and song, the play examines the very real situation of pregnancy and all of the heart warmth and heartache that goes along with it.
“It’s not like getting a puppy,” said Director Peter Reader on having a baby. Reader reflected that, as a father of three, he understands the magnitude of being an expecting parent. “It changes your life,” he said. “I can see basically what the couples are going through. They’re not comprehending the amount of time and care and responsibility it takes to raise an individual.”
Freshman Christine Byrne, who plays the pregnant 40-year-old Arlene, has a special connection to her character.
“My character reminds me a lot of my mother,” Byrne said. “When I look for inspiration on how Arlene should react to a situation, I think to myself ‘What would my mother do?'”
Byrne also appreciated the opportunity to play a complex character.
“Even though Arlene’s tale is particularly tragic, she’s a great person,” she said. “She’s just trying to understand the cards that have been dealt to her, and she’s trying to deal with them in the best way that she can. I love the role.”
Reader and Byrne both praised the play’s music, including one song in particular. “‘I Want It All’ is one of the best songs in the show,” Reader said. “The song is about wanting to be a professional woman and wanting to be a mother and trying to balance both things.”
“If it’s done right it’s a showstopper,” Byrne said.
At the heart of the play lie meaningful lessons that audience members can feel good about taking away.
“It teaches you to value life and relationships,” Byrne said. “You’ll come out of [the show] with a different mindset.”
Junior Phil Baker, who portrays the character Nick Sakarian, said he hopes the audience has fun, but that they learn something as well.
“In an era that has ‘Teen Mom,’ I hope that our musical can restore the dignity of having children and bring to light the rituals that couples go through (when they have a baby),” Baker said.
“Baby” runs March 1-3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 2 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Student, faculty and staff tickets are $8 with valid identification.
Sean Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.