“Car-rrrrot, carrr-rot, carrr-ot, carrr-ot,” the large carrot of Senior SING! (Brittany Bishop) chanted. Though random scenes like the visit of a demented carrot were recurrent throughout Senior SING! 2008, the quirky randomness and humor of the entire performance showcased the seniors’ ability to function as perfectly as a human body. By teasing themselves and not solely the other grades (though the seniors couldn’t resist poking fun at Junior SING!’s board game theme), the seniors were exciting, funny, and synchronized as a grade.
Titled “Inside the Body of Gnis Roines,” Senior SING! 2008 was executive-produced by Marta Bralic and produced by Paul Silverman, Lily Warnke, and Eugene Golubitsky. After the brief appearance of a surgeon and a nurse on stage, the cast plummeted into the body of the patient.
The swing crew quickly entered the stage in DNA-shaped costumes to the music of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray” before the cast, directed by Chloe Goodwin and Thiviya Navaratnam, was told about the presence of a virus in the body. A characteristically nerdy Brain (Max Stein) then performed a role call of the other organs, answered by the drunk Liver Committee (Emma Kako and Lily Akerman) declaring themselves “sober” and the Bladder (Ezra Glenn) claiming that he was “urinating.”
The Queen of Hearts (Kasey Huizinga) made a flashy entrance, accompanied by the bellydance crew’s seductive pulse-based dance. After an argument between the recently divorced Brain and Queen of Hearts, a Medicine pill known as PLM2 (Nicki Fleischner) climbed onto the stage from the band pit and was beaten up on account of being “useless.”
“I’ve seen better defenses on the Mexican border,” the Virus said when he arrived and surveyed the body organs. The Brain and the Queen of Hearts made amends and prepared to fight the Virus together. A performance of “The Final Countdown” by the entire cast added to the feeling of urgency before an extensive battle was simulated by the hip hop dance crew. After PLM2 sacrificed herself to destroy the virus, the body organs celebrated and the spirit song began.
“When we first heard the [human body] idea, we discounted it since it seemed too complicated,” Goodwin said. “But we started to talk to art and tech and costumes and everyone got excited.” Indeed, the human body theme provided an opportunity for all of the different crews to excel. The costumes were a great balance of sexy and humorous, and were never bland. The seniors also avoided the random placement of dances that the juniors fell victim to—many of the dancers were categorized as either viruses and fighters on the side of the body, indicated by the color of their costumes.
The Latin and hip hop dance crews were two of the more extravagant features of Senior SING!. The band’s brass section accompanied the dance with a few fiery notes before the crew exited and Latin dance directors Natalie Rozenblat and Dmitry Loubnine stepped up the pace during a dance duet. The viral b-girls from hip hop dance waved their arms as their male counterparts fought the body through break dancing.
Some of the other dances were substantial, but not extraordinary. The rave dance impressed the audience, but the relatively simple moves left much to be desired. The step dance crew amazed the audience when the dancers spelled “S-E-N-I-O-R” with their bodies, but most of their moves weren’t all that creative and lacked ingenuity.
The band was consistently good, and had a few moments when it excelled. Alec Gross’ violin accompaniment to Usman Khan’s singing during the Indian dance complemented the mysterious seductiveness of the Indian dance. The guitarists also excelled during the Indian dance, mimicking the motif of Khan’s song in the low ranges. Band director Matthew Rosenthal created an urgent ambiance during the rave dance as his guitar’s notes rose through the octaves but a low pedal point remained.
In general, the seniors’ acting and singing was stellar. Huizinga’s bold voice attracted cheers from the audience during “You Make Me Want to Shout.” In some of the show’s later numbers, Huizinga’s voice was slightly shrill, but it still retained a confident quality. The hormones (Andre Lazar, Ben Wadowski, Matt Battifarano and Albert Monina) offered a short rendition of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” in order to seduce the liver cells—the rendition was both humorous and musically apt.
The actors avoided corny jokes and most of the humor came from the sheer absurdity of the situation. The appendix’s (Evan Kolesnick) constant musings on his lack of purpose as an organ, spoken in a whiny voice, was one of the highlights of the show. Ferrer’s humorous portrayal of the pure evil virus was a bit cliché, but his animated acting made up for it.
The seniors’ script was successful largely because it was a collaboration of the entire grade. Rather than ask for script submissions, the slate asked for theme submissions. “We invited anyone who was interested to come write with us,” Bralic said. The seniors also let the cast shape the script rather than force them to the stick to the original. “During cast rehearsals, the script was entirely changed,” Bralic said.
The seniors functioned just like a human body. Everything was woven into the script and the actors kept the audience’s excitement up by showing their own excitement. The band was strong and the set was incredible. It’s true there were the occasional “appendixes” of Senior SING!—the carrot probably shouldn’t have come back on stage for a second time. But every human body has an appendix, and the occasional randomness of Senior SING! was what made it great.