The Broadway Showcase finally returned to the Performing Arts Center at 6 P.M. on February 16.
“The Broadway Showcase is a collection of songs, dances, and just general routines all relevant to the world of Broadway,” explained Ajay Krishnan (’23), who sang “Razzle Dazzle” from the musical Chicago. Lancers had the opportunity to express their talents through singing, playing instruments, or performing short theatrical productions as individuals or groups.
However, similar exhibition events were scarce during the pandemic. Krishnan participated in last year’s virtual production but felt that the audience’s role was significantly diminished: “It didn’t have the same connection with your audience, because you’re just recording in an isolated corner of your house. It didn’t feel like a performance really, whereas this one, we had actual rehearsals, lights, tech, and an actual live audience was reacting.”
Not only was the human connection absent online, but effectively operating technology also became an obstacle, especially for group acts. In light of many logistical uncertainties, trio performer Maanasi Sridhar (’23) faced questions such as “Should we record it in the same Zoom call or put together three different recordings? And how might we get the transitions to seem flawless, or make it seem like we’re actually there?”
Although technology was an issue for some last year, others found that recordings enabled them to repeatedly polish their pieces. “As a perfectionist, I probably did around twenty takes before I was happy with my final video,” duet singer Justine Emerson (’22) reflected.
While the stress of computer malfunctions largely evaporated this year, in-person auditions became a source of initial pressure for aspiring performers. “I was a bit nervous to audition. Either I felt that I wouldn’t get in or I would freeze up in front of a large stage,” shared Sridhar.
Similarly, Krishnan was also anxious because he was auditioning for another production: “Coincidently, I had auditioned for another production I actually hadn’t gotten into. So I was feeling inadequate and didn’t think I was going to get in.”
Fortunately for both performers, Director Ms. Sadie Queally-Sammut admitted them into the final roster and became the root of their inspiration. “We love Ms. Q. She motivated us and was our rock. And it was just very nice to hear praise or motivation from someone else. It was a very warm environment to be around people who love the same thing you do,” said Sridhar.
Krishnan’s acceptance boosted his confidence, but he began fearing that the pandemic hiatus would interfere with his ability to perform. Nonetheless, his musical talents were reinvigorated as he took the stage: “I was realizing that this was the first time in a while that I had done a real solo in-person performance. I was nervous about that. But then once I got on the stage and took the mic, all those memories of performing in front of a live audience just came back to me, it was almost an unconscious sense where I just knew what to do.”
For Emerson, there was a similar sense of inexperience due to the lack of collaborative practice with her duet partner. But just a bit of pre-show preparation with each other was enough for them to shine on the stage: “[My partner] and I hadn’t sung our song together at all until an hour before the show, so we really ended up improvising and putting together a performance in less than an hour,” explained Emerson.
Unlike a Zoom recording in the house, Sridhar emphasized that the event expanded her horizons and satisfied her curiosity of what a Broadway performance felt like for professional actors. “I strongly encourage people to participate next year, because you’re going to have so much fun,” she shared. “It’s going to be something that you’re going to remember.”