By Arielle Lipset, Campus Life Editor ||
As graduation approaches, seniors are bombarded with questions and anxiety over their career choices and post-graduation plans. Consequently, the themes of F&M Players’ production, Broadway Revue: Gonna Find My Purpose, performed last weekend, were especially timely, focusing on ideas of finding one’s calling and meaning in life.
Performances took place through March 20 and the 22 in the Green Room Theatre, as student actors and actresses danced and sang an array of musical numbers. The numbers were hand-selected by student directors Jake Benedict ’15 and Christine Potts ’15, and All the songs were connected by a similar theme.
“All of the songs stringing the play together are about finding your way in life, finding your purpose, your calling,” said Mike Manley ’14, F&M Players’ marketing chair.
Manley said it was easy for him to relate to the play’s songs on a personal level. He was cast in five songs in the production, which feature a variety of pieces from Broadway shows. Manley has been involved with F&M Players since his freshman year, and it has been a pivotal aspect of his time at F&M.
“No college campus can function without student-run theater,” Manley said. “It’s important to have something that comes from the students — from what they want to do, their passions — and isn’t coming from the [theatre] department, which is more academically chosen. This offers a chance for more creativity, from the idea to the execution of the actual production.”
Singing “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin, Mike said he felt the piece spoke to him, as it centers on finding a place in the world and path in life. As an actor and senior at F&M, Manley found the piece inspiring, as he hopes to pursue acting after graduation.
Directors Benedict and Potts stumbled upon the theme they chose when listening to “Purpose,” a song from Avenue Q. Potts described the process she and Benedict went through when picking the songs for the musical.
“We had been compiling a list of songs and themes because we had been interested in directing since freshman year, and, when we finally decided to actually propose [a musical theme], we went in and shortened the list dramatically,” Potts said.
This was Potts’ and Benedict’s first time directing, and they experienced ups and downs over the course of the production’s preparation.
“Our cast is 52 people, so it’s been really difficult keeping track of so many people and making sure everyone’s where they need to be,” Benedict said. “It has also been really nice, and we have had the opportunity to get to know a lot of people very well.”
Potts and Benedict took part in song performances as well their directing roles, which tested their multi-tasking abilities.
“It’s not as difficult as it sounds,” said Benedict. “We’re already spending so much of our time at rehearsals, and it’s not so hard to just step in,” Potts said. “The most difficult [song] is the one we’re both in, our director song, and it’s hard to be directors but also be taking direction from the
Scheduling posed a conflict as the directors juggled rehearsals, hours spent on casting, and the initial planning of the production. However, they explained that their work was extremely rewarding and highlighted the new relationships they gained through the production.
“I feel like I’m coming out of the production with plenty more friends than I had starting off, and it’s a good feeling,” said Benedict. “I’ve seen people grow tremendously from the first day of casting until the final days of rehearsal and days of the actual performance. Vocally, people have shown talent, and people have come out of their shells.”
Potts agreed and saw students come alive over the course of rehearsals.
“People who were once afraid to become involved with the performance now push to get in the spotlight,” Potts said.
The directors encouraged students to become involved with F&M Players and said the group provides rewarding experiences in multiple ways. Benedict and Potts were thankful for the chance to direct Broadway Revue as it gave them leadership opportunities, creative growth, and the chance to have their voices heard.
Junior Arielle Lipset is the Campus Life Editor. Her email is email@example.com.