Images c/o Lillian La Salle
Willow and Houston… features a by-students, for-students aesthetic.
By Lillian La Salle
Enter the LeFevre Theatre on the SMC campus and find a finely lit auditorium with numerous students humming, stretching, singing, dancing, and chatting together. The student tech crew is meticulously making sure all the songs are queued, at the right volume, and ready for a run-through. The lighting practitioners flash the spotlights a few times for a quick test, and the student directors lead the actors through a myriad of dynamic warm-ups. One thing worth mentioning, there is not a professor in sight.
For the SMC theatre program's spring production, as many as 20 current undergraduate students are serving in leadership roles. The directors and stage managers are especially key to rolling out the visual performance because they are guiding everyone through the production process. The students are fully disciplined, running through warmups and lines to get ready for rehearsal. The student leaders guide the process along with a perfect balance of student support and director authority.
Similar to a sports practice, producing and acting in a musical is a full-body experience. The directors act as a coach by critiquing and providing feedback while also being supportive and strong in the eyes of the other students. One stage manager explained, “Every line is a point,” and that the point is necessary for the audience to understand what is happening on stage. Even the smallest details in the production are given the utmost care by these student managers and directors. It is clear that the leaders want to help the students give all their effort into the production to execute their community's vision.
With the student directors' and managers' guidance and support, the student actors work as a team to bring to the stage their latest production, “Willow & Houston Throw the Grad Party of the F*cking Century”, which encapsulates all the small details and feelings of young adult life. The actors presence clearly displays the sense of community amongst the cast, which helps bring the different highschool graduation experiences to life on the LeFevre stage.
With a sprinkling of self-discovery, rivalries, perfectionism, romance, sibling dynamics, and a fear of the unknown, this hilarious musical is a must watch for all students and faculty at SMC. The musical is a medley of student writing, Broadway musical numbers, scenes from different plays. The students seem to be having a blast carrying out this storyline on stage, and their infectious energy is a major draw for any theatre-going person. The show depicts all the details of young adult life in an hour-and-a-half production. All the small moments of the high school experience- jokes, roasts, heartaches, heartbreaks, hard conversations, and tearful endings– all packed into a hilarious and honest musical of the young adult experience.
This is a must-watch for the SMC community, and if you see the student leaders make sure to give them an extra round of applause.
Madison Sciba '24,