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PEMCo. provides evening of song, dance

Molly Griffin | Monday, April 3, 2006

Billed as “A Not-So Black-Tie Affair,” the Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo.) proved an exciting night of entertainment that mixed comedy, drama, music and dancing.

The show, which ran Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the LaFortune Ballroom, included songs from a variety of musicals. Songs ranged from the humorous to the dramatic, but all of the works showcased the wide range of musical talent present in PEMCo.

The show maintained consistent excellence with regard to singing and dancing, and the songs were all well-chosen pieces.

The event opened with the group number “A Wild, Wild Party,” from the musical “The Wild Party”. The up-tempo song, coupled with the lively dancing and choreography, set up an energetic tone for the entire evening.

The classic song “I’ve Got Rhythm” from “Crazy for You” was well done by the six singers involved, but it was the tap routine that came later in the number that was truly impressive. The dancing added to the song itself and pleased the crowd.

“Confrontation” from the musical “Jekyll and Hyde” seemed like an unusual selection for a solo number because it requires the singer to be both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But Robert DeBroeck’s impassioned version of the song worked effectively and made it a distinct and memorable part of the performance.

A group of sophomore girls later performed “Bring on the Men” from “Jekyll and Hyde” later in the evening. While somewhat different from many of the other songs performed, it was an equally interesting and effective part of the PEMCo. show.

Another impressive group number, “Into the Fire” from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” included only male singers. It proved to be one of the more powerful numbers, both because of the inspiring nature of the song itself, and because the group of all-male voices was forceful enough to be heard perfectly in spite of the bad acoustics in the LaFortune Ballroom.

One of the highlights of the evening was “A ‘Selection’ from Annie.” This piece featured the classic “It’s the Hard-knock Life” with a unique spin. Instead of being performed by the usual group of young orphan girls, a trio of boys dressed in hip-hop attire gave a nod to Jay-Z’s sampling of the song on “Hard-Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).” The dedication of the performers made the piece extremely funny and a stand-out part of the evening’s events.

There were a number of other humorous numbers in the show that were deftly presented by the cast. The Senior group number “B.A. in English/It Sucks to Be Me” from the “Sesame Street”-esque “Avenue Q” was a major crowd-pleaser, and the religious boy-band spoof musical “Altar Boyz” provided the funny all-male number “We Are the Altar Boyz.”

Chelsea Mason’s “Diva’s Lament” from “Monty Python’s Spamalot” also provided some big laughs because it poked fun at a frequent problem in theatre – having parts get cut from productions.

In addition to the comic numbers, some of the more serious songs were popular with the crowd during the review. “Opening: The New World” from “Songs For a New World” showcased some talented singers with the sweeping, swelling tones of the song. The second song of the evening “Lost in the Wilderness” from “Children of Eden” showcased the vocal range of soloist Tim Masterton with a slow and moving song.

Jenny Radelet, who directed this year’s PEMCo. show “Footloose,” stood out from the entire cast on two numbers in particular. The first, from “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” entitled “Find Your Grail” ended the first half of the show. The song showcased Radelet’s vocal abilities, as well as her comic timing.

“Defying Gravity,” from the musical “Wicked” is an extremely complex solo number, and Radelet managed to handle both the complex inflections while still projecting, and it made the song a perfect segue into the final number of the evening.

The show’s finale, “Finale B” from “Rent,” proved a fitting end for the show. The moving number, coupled with the scenes from past PEMCo. Musicals projected onto the walls, made it a moving end to a great night of music.

Overall, the only real downside to the evening proved to be the acoustics in the LaFortune Ballroom. While some of the singers could be heard, the sound was inconsistent and frustrating at times. The show itself was a rousing night of entertainment that showcased the depth of vocal talent present in PEMCo.