With the school year on its way back into full swing, Belmont Musical Theatre takes to the stage with its fall musical lineup.
The College of Music and Performing Arts Musical Theatre Department, led by Nancy Allen returns to the stages of Belmont. Known for their production quality and ability to perform with a caliber that rivals professionals, it returns with a season that includes a freshman showcase and productions of “Working” and “Hello Dolly!” there are many opportunities to see the talent of these students through the fall.
“Working,” the opening musical of the season, premiers on friday in the Massey Concert Hall.
Based on Studs Terkel’s book of the same name that interviewed employees nationwide, the show promises to show the true depth of American job hood. It follows the stories of often-overlooked American workers.
“You're going to cry,” said sophomore Xander Benton.
Making his mainstage Belmont debut as the delivery man in “Working” Benton's excitement radiates through his responses and his clear passion for the art is contagious.
“I'm super stoked. Everybody's so fit for their part that they're in, and everybody works so well together,” Benton said. “I'm just so excited to see the ending product and to help teach the audience, something that workers do every day that you might not always think about.”
Originally nominated for six Tony’s the show has been updated with new musical workings of Lin-Manuel Miranda and more.
“It's a show that makes you think so much more deeply - not only about the jobs that we do and how hard they may be, or what we do when we work, but also just how much heart and soul and sweat and blood and all different things go into even jobs you may think don't take a lot,” said Benton.
The following month, on Nov. 3, the freshman showcase provides a look into the fresh talent and will emphasize the new class’s creativity.
“We got to pick all of our group songs, all of our solos, all of our small group trios, duets, and stuff like that which I'm really excited about,” said Jillian Armstrong, freshman musical theatre major.
This performance will be the first for many first years but still, some are eager to showcase their passion on stage with their classmates.
“The first time we heard everyone's singing, it was really jarring because I was just like, wow, everyone here just has the most beautiful voice you've ever heard,” said Armstrong.
To close the fall season, a production of the golden age classic “Hello Dolly!” is slated to take the stage of the Troutt Theater.
Full of humor, memorable moments, and a hefty amount of glamour, the musical based on the 1955 play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder will be the culmination of the semester for students. The show will open Nov. 16 and will run through Nov. 19.
“I think the audience is just going to get a good laugh. It's very just nostalgic, family-friendly,” said musical theater senior Anna Dudley.
Dudley plays the titular role of Dolly in Belmont’s production.
“This role is kind of interesting for me; I would have always classified myself as a contemporary musical theater singer. And this is such a golden age show,” Dudley said. “So, I think it means growth to me about my time here, like, the fact that I'm getting to do that.”
With four years under her belt, Dudley looks to take the next step in her professional career and get ever closer to the blinding lights of Broadway.
“You know, everyone always asks, ‘What's your backup?’ And I don't feel the need for one anymore. And I think freshman year me always had an answer to that question. And now I don't want to answer it,” she said.
With a jam-packed season that explores both the beauty and pitfalls of 20th-century America, Belmont Musical Theatre will have plenty of opportunities to showcase the talent that exists here on campus.
This article was written by Zach Watkins