Photo by Katherine Rountree
Last night at the Lucas Theater, students from the Performing Arts Department took the stage to perform “Broadway Rocks!” Their performance of some of the greatest songs from Broadway began with the scary-perky smiles you’d expect to see after opening your door to a Mormon and the hilarious song “Hello!”
The audience’s laughter turned to wild cheering as the performers ripped off their ties and short-sleeved buttoned shirts and launched into “American Idiot.” It was hard to tell if the audience or the performers had more fun. Apart from a few technical problems, the show was a success.
During “One Fine Day,” Tonya Thompson’s voice was drowned out by those of the SCAD Divas backing her up. Given her soulful solo performance of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” where she only had to sit center-stage and open her mouth to enchant the audience, only a faulty mic could be to blame. Why the stage crew ran a mic to one of the Divas instead of Thompson is a mystery. Regardless, she delivered a powerful performance in both voice and character.
Unfortunately, faulty microphones disrupted the show a few more times. A dead mic muted Ford Phillips’ spectacular vocals during “Sugar Daddy” for a few seconds. But Phillips took it in stride, staying in character until he reached a working microphone. A painful blast of feedback interrupted “I Believe,” but Matt Higgins and Tony Davison fixed it with a fluid step back from each other. These were small hiccups, easy to overlook because of the smooth handling by the performers.
The tech difficulties even extended to the lights when a shaky hand on one of Aaron Catano’s spotlights during “Heaven on Their Minds” distracted from his performance. Thankfully, the passion in his voice and expressions were powerful enough to bring us back into the show.
However, technical difficulties might not have been the reason why Amber Hancock was hard to understand when she sang “Smash the Mirror.” Her frustration at the unresponsive Tommy was on point, but it would have been nice to hear what she was upset about.
The real gem of the show was “Sweet Transvestite,” with Kavin Panmeechao strutting in heels and lingerie. It broke into a true live performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Panmeechao saying “I see you shiver with anticip—” and the crowd screaming “Say it!”
After coming full circle and ending with songs from “Book of Mormon” and “American Idiot,” the ensemble gave a surprise performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The headbanging during the guitar solo à la “Wayne’s World” made it the perfect note to end on.