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By Teagan Durkin || Staff Writer

A roaring round of applause for Same Song, Different Key! Performed at the inaugural Student New Works Festival, this play was written by upcoming playwright Ryan Squires ‘24. A self-proclaimed “labor of love,” Squires describes the production as “a love letter to one of the greatest joys of my life, music, and an ode to one of my deepest struggles, anxiety.” Both themes are deftly intertwined throughout the production, and create a relatable yet hilarious performance for the audience. 

While avoiding spoilers, the production follows Stella, played by Aviva Katz, as she attempts to find a new apartment. Guided by real estate agent Blanche, played by Ellie Gibson, Stella soon discovers that her new apartment is “the most musical place off Broadway.” (The dramatic irony within this line, if this production was actually played on Broadway, is not lost.) Stella soon discovers that she lives next to a feminist punk rock band—whose members include Jules, played by Olivia Clay, Iris, played by Sam Correa, and Trent, played by Keith Wattenarbger—as well as piano teacher Darryl, played by Tim Shu. Though her living situation is arguably disruptive, Stella’s main worry is her severe anxiety surrounding music and stress-inducing situations. What follows are copious amounts of musical references, band break-ups and actual break-ups, and attempts to learn the saxophone.

As well as the actors did when delivering their lines, there is a missed opportunity for Christinia, played by Jahnel Rodriguez. After the disastrous first performance of Menstruation Nation, the foremost feminine punk rock band in the area, at the gay club Glitter Ball, Christinia angrily exclaims over Trent’s lack of dedication to the band. An addition of a final damnation towards Trent of, “Fuck that guy! But not literally,” is this writer’s personal wish for future performances. 

One of the play’s pivotal moments is a reflection on Stella’s seemingly missed opportunity for her dream life. However, this missed opportunity proves to just be one of many chances she has to pursue the musical career and relationships she actually wants. Thus, we may think our moment is in a stuffy conservatory, forced to unnaturally perform for an audience of balding men. But our moment could actually be on the stage of a gay nightclub, with a purple sequin backdrop illuminating our own brilliance. 

Wherever your moment might be, simply remember the words of a Long Island-accented real estate agent: “This is my moment. These hips birthed two children, and this is my moment.”

Freshman Teagan Durkin is a Staff Writer. Her email is