Tiffany Yeager -Staff Writer
Last week Clarion University’s theatre department premiered their spring musical “Violet”. The production featured 13 university students, some of whom portrayed multiple characters throughout the show. There was also a pit band of seven members in the background that accompanied the singers during their musical numbers.
Written by Brain Crawley, this musical was centered on a bus journey taken by a young woman named Violet. She had been scarred when she was a little girl by a loose ax blade accident. All of her life she hated her scar and reminded herself of how ugly she was. Violet takes this bus trip upon seeing an advertisement for a church that says it can heal people—she thinks her face can finally be fixed. Violet meets a few people on her trip and ends up finding out a lot about the importance of inner beauty and just how insignificant outer beauty really is.
Violet was played by Junior BFA musical theatre major, Tori Heckert. She was assigned this role as part of her graduation project. Nate Bunyon played Flick, one of the army boys, and the other man in uniform was played by Justin Baumgarten. As the story progresses, you realize that you’re seeing the present and the past simultaneously at certain points. Young Vi is portrayed by Lindsay Smelcer and Violet’s father of the past is played by Daniel LaMond. All of these actors stayed in the same role throughout the entire production.
The rest of the cast played multiple roles. These students include: Betsy Novotny, Tree Layton Zuzzio, Sam Atwell, Alyssa Gephart, Bobby Reiser, Shayla Barrett, Alexis Mazur, and Zack Persijn.
Overall, the performance was really well-delivered. The audience laughed, gasped and clapped multiple times throughout the show. While there was a serious message and theme within the production, there were a lot of funny parts that lead into the main storyline and seemed to please the crowd. Audience members were talking about how well-done the musical was in the hallways post-performance.
The show wouldn’t have been successful without the crew members who helped put on the production. Director and choreographer of the show was Marilouise Michel. Lighting design was done by university student, Tom Feather. The old-style costumes were put together by Myra Bullington. There were countless others that helped set up the show, put props together, and control the sound and lighting during the performance. All of these elements were a piece of the overall production and really helped make it great.
While some actors played multiple roles in the show, each character performed their absolute hearts out and really made each scene believable. There was such emotion and energy in the talents of these young men and women. Along with the acting, the singing was incredible. It wasn’t just actors or singers on stage, each talented performer was a mix of both and it really made the overall performance such a successful one.
After countless hours of rehearsal and a lot of anticipation leading up to opening night, the cast of “Violet” delivered an incredible show. The story told on stage really impacted the viewers and it was such a believable portrayal of a woman distraught by outer insecurities. After the closing of the show, the meaningful lesson about inner beauty is something that audience members will surely remember.