A troupe not just for theater students
Students from various departments to put on show
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 14:04
There’s a class for students out there who were involved in theater during their high school years but can’t find the time to major in it at college. The current trend seems to be that those students end up finding the time for a theater major after all. At least that’s what been noticed by Katherine Noone, who is in her fourth year instructing the Musical Theatre Troupe.
The course is typically offered in the fall semester opposite the department’s yearly musical production, and to get in one has to audition. The class itself requires each student to sing 32 bars from a musical theater production, put together a script to help stage their song and some choreography to boot.
This year one of the students who popped out of the woodwork -- that is to say, the student body outside of the theater department -- was Hayden Spaeth, a sophomore pursuing a business management major. Noone was initially taken aback when she saw his response to a campus-wide listserv email. After learning he goes home every summer to play leading roles in musicals, Noone could only wonder, “Where have you been?”
“It’s rewarding to give people outside the department the opportunity to participate and see what we do, and the level that we do here in the theater department,” Noone said. Musical Theater Troupe is offered to all majors and even as a Tri-College course. Noone met Noah Forsberg, an MSUM student pursuing a bachelor’s of music, during her time this fall with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera. She convinced him to try out the class, and he in turn convinced his wife to join too, who studies nursing here at NDSU.
Still, there is a fair share of theater majors among the 15 students enrolled in the course this year. One of those is Erin Behrmann, a senior who played a lead role in “The Wild Party” musical put on last semester. This is her fourth consecutive year in Musical Theater Troupe, Noone says Behrmann has emerged as a leader in the class and has her working as her choreographer.
“I came in as this little freshman who didn't know anything and now I'm leaving having choreographed many of the numbers and with some solos. It just shows that passion and a lot of hard work pays off,” she said, satisfied with the progress she’s made over the years. “I love performing and getting to put together a show of our own is incredibly fun. Plus, it's an amazing way to learn more about a huge variety of musicals.”
The production they put together is a musical revue, which shouldn’t be confused with a recital; it’s more than an individual walking out, singing a song and exiting stage right. Each student introduces their selected piece with some background information, and every song has at least staging if not some choreography. The “scenes” in the production range from solos to full group numbers.
“The interaction between the students has been awesome, and there is a really good vibe this semester. They work together, they work hard, they all want to do a good product, and I think no matter who the student is, giving them that opportunity is a wonderful thing. People really bond when you do a show; they connect,” Noone explained. She says it’s different from a typical class because, unlike a finals project, the students can’t pull the production together mere hours before it’s due. They have to work together, and no one can get an A without contributing to the group effort.
The theme this year is “The New Broadway: Be Our Guest at the Tony’s” and the production features music picked from Tony Award-winning musicals from 1993 onward. Noone says that they’ve already done pieces from earlier periods in years previous, and that Broadway had gotten unsavory and even rundown by the ‘70s and ‘80s. She said Disney took on Broadway in the early ‘90s and cleaned it up.
“No matter who you are, you will be entertained. It’s a great date night. There’s something for everyone. There are love songs, there are big group numbers and there are really talented singers and dancers. It’s light fun and you’ll be entertained. It’s a great thing, so come on out,” Noone claimed.
The students are putting on the show tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Askanase Hall.