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PEMCo celebrates 20th anniversary with ‘20 Seasons of Love’ show

| Friday, December 1, 2017

For a free musical theater experience Saturday night, the Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) producers would recommend attending “20 Seasons of Love: A PEMCo Review” at 7 p.m. in Washington Hall. The show will feature one song from each of PEMCo’s productions over its 20-year history, senior Kelsey Dool, PEMCo’s executive producer, said.

“When you’re watching this show, it’s like you’re watching 20 years of PEMCo on fast forward,” Dool said.

Photo courtesy of Denise Dorotheo
Students perform “Beauty School Dropout” during PEMCo’s 2017 production of “Grease.”

While PEMCo typically produces one fall and one spring show, senior Brynn Alexander, PEMCo’s production management producer, said the producers decided to host an additional show this year to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary.

“[The idea for the show] was kind of an egg in our brains at one point and then hatched into this monumental, exciting concert that’s about to happen,” Alexander said.

The four PEMCo producers began reaching out to alumni in the summer to gauge interest, according to Alexander, and once they saw it was there, they made plans to produce the show.

The show is directed by Katie Mackin, PEMCo’s artistic director. While it is unusual for a producer to also direct a show, Mackin said, the producers chose her to direct so the show could celebrate PEMCo as a whole.

Alexander said the show is also meant to celebrate all parts of musical theater.

“It’s a celebration of the club as a whole and PEMCo as a whole and all of musical theater as a whole instead of a person, director or a star or a technical element,” she said. “So it’s an inclusive and exciting event that celebrates as many things about musical theater as possible.”

Mackin began preparing for the show by choosing the songs.

“The big thing I tried to do was pick a recognizable song from the musical so that people would immediately have an emotional connection to it,” she said. “ … Of course every musical has great songs, but not every song in a musical is a great song, so here we’ve tried to create a collection of really strong numbers that stand on their own.”

Denise Dorotheo, a senior and PEMCo’s marketing producer, said the audience will get to see the “peak numbers” from each of PEMCo’s shows.

“They get to see the climax of most of the shows all in one concert,” she said.

Mackin said she ensured the show featured an equal number of male and female parts and that she featured a variety of solos, duets and small group numbers so that everyone could be included.

Dool said the first PEMCo show, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in the fall of 1997, featured a large cast, which the producers wanted to honor.

“Their first production was a huge one, so we figured a good way to honor that would be to bring together people who have done PEMCo across their four years at Notre Dame — bring back alumni and bring in people who have never done PEMCo before but just love musical theater, so to try to get everybody who has an interest in musical theater on this campus a place to celebrate it,” she said.

The cast for “20 Seasons of Love” numbers around 40 people, and Alexander said she thinks this aspect is one that the audience may enjoy the most.

“I think people will enjoy … the huge amount of participation that’s happening,” she said. “Since we had a very inclusive casting system where anyone who wanted to participate could participate, it’s made it very fun for the performers. … I think the audience will enjoy really being able to see anyone who’s ever wanted to be in a PEMCo show on a stage in a PEMCo show.”

Alumni will be featured in the show in several forms, including singing several numbers or introducing shows they were involved in while at Notre Dame, Mackin said.

Dorotheo said she has been reaching out to alumni throughout the process of producing the show.

“We had them send in videos with messages for the cast saying their favorite PEMCo memories and what PEMCo meant to them,” she said.

Dorotheo also saw the inclusive casting as a way to bring new people into PEMCo, she said.

Photo courtesy of Denise Dorotheo
The cast of PEMCo’s “20 Seasons of Love: A Review” gathers onstage during a rehearsal. The students will be joined by PEMCo alumni during the Saturday night show.

Due to the alumni in the cast and the timing, Dool said the production process has been unorthodox.

“This rehearsal process has overlapped for the rehearsal process for our spring musical, which doesn’t happen,” she said. “… What we’ve done for this show is it’s been self-motivated on a lot of people’s parts. People have been expected to learn their music on their own and then come in and show what they’ve done.”

Mackin said alumni were sent sheet music and will attend the group rehearsal on Saturday before the show. She said “20 Seasons of Love” is a good show for those who may be new to musical theater.

“It’s a casual way to see what musical theater and the arts at Notre Dame are like for people who maybe haven’t experienced that before,” Mackin said.

The show is the producers’ way of giving back and honoring the impact of PEMCo at Notre Dame, Dool said.

“PEMCo is a huge part of our lives, and we really wanted to do this show as a way to give back to the club that’s given us so much over the years and that we know had been giving students like us the same thing for 20 years before we were here,” she said.

Tickets for the performance are available at the LaFortune Student Center box office or at the door.

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame senior majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

Contact Alexandra