By Daniel Johanson
The Chicago College of Performing Arts’ Theatre Conservatory put together a performance of songs that exemplify the current theatrical climate. The performance, entitled “Sing Your Own Song,” consisted of material that made its Chicago debut on March 28.
The musical content came from the minds of Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, a songwriting duo whose fame is on the rise. Some of the songs came from their musical “Ever After,” which should see its time on Broadway in 2015.
“We will be honoring a team of songwriters who have been working together for 20 years by doing an entire showcase of their work,” Associate Professor of Theatre Ray Frewen said.
The “Sing Your Own Song” performance serves as a way to honor these composers while also giving the students a chance to shine.
“The performance is not a full length show with a script,” theater student Pablo Barajas said. “It is more of a showcase, full of individual solos, duets, trios, quartets and full company group numbers. There are 11 of us in the show, in all. It’s a mix of sophomore, junior and senior musical theatre majors.”
This style of consecutive numbers without a plot connection is similar to a revue, a format of French origin. This allows for a wide variety of content and opportunities for the students to grow as performers.
One of the songs performed, entitled “Alto’s Lament,” has a couple levels of humor involved. The referential nature of the song provides some inside jokes for those familiar with the repertoire, but has its own set of difficulties.
“‘Alto’s Lament’ [is] a song that references many alto lines in great American works of musical theatre,” Heisler said. “Respecting copyright is an issue very near and dear to our hearts, so we properly cleared all the passages referenced and share the royalties with rights holders and their estates.”
Of course, there are many different levels to copyright laws. “Alto’s Lament” is special in that it provides a perspective to help audiences and performance organizers better understand the importance of these laws.
The art in performances of this nature is the creation of another party. The beauty in this is the collaborative experience that can be felt by all involved.
“I think when you see your material in the hands and hearts of a Broadway performer, there’s nothing like it,” Heisler said. “There are things that actors can do with our material that we could only hope to do.”
Anyone that missed the performances this past weekend can still see some of the material at this year’s VIVID performance on April 8 in the Auditorium Theatre. The production has been condensed and will be used as a representative of what the department has to offer for incoming students and to the local Chicago area.