The lights dim and a hush falls over the room. The audience stares eagerly toward the stage as the live orchestra situated in the balcony begins to play. The lights rise as the two narrators bound down the aisle toward the stage singing an enthusiastic rendition of “There’s no business like show business.” Thus begins Vanguard University’s fall musical- “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round.”
Three giant hearts: one broken, one strong, and one mending- form the backdrop for this production while a turn-table appropriately disguised as a spinning world, spreads out across the stage. It is here that the majority of the action takes place; the actors leaving only for scene changes or to occasionally interact with the audience.
An original play, written and directed by adjunct professor Vanda Eggington, it focuses on four different couples from diverse eras that represent different viewpoints on love. “I had this idea,” Eggington stated in an interview before the show; “I had an idea about which songs I wanted but I waited until I had the cast and then wrote the play and matched the songs with the characters. I wrote this with the actors in mind, tailoring it to their unique strengths as performers,” she said.
Not surprising then, the multi-talented cast are perfect for their individual roles. Juniors Amanda Bihl and Ian Jenkins serve as the narrators and guides as they explore the mysteries of love.
Following four different couples through the different stages of a relationship- boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, and of course- winning her back, this musical revue blends a variety of popular show-tunes sung by a team of passionate performers.
There’s the classic 1930’s couple played by sophomore Jordan Laemmlen and the charming Caitlin Theobald; their voices blending together beautifully as they sweetly express their love through songs like the Pre-World War II classic “Would You.”
Junior Hailey Tweter and senior Nick Lazaris are adorable as they portray the 1950’s swing dancing, milk-shake sharing love birds; while sophomore Micah Stratton and senior Brandijo Kistler rock the tunes from the 70’s and 80’s in their fun and flashy costumes.
Seniors Elizabeth Suzanne and Troy Iwata play the sharp and witty contemporary couple… and the only couple that raps at some point in the performance. The actors’ performances are sincere and ardent and allow you to sympathize with their characters.
Ballroom, jazz and swing are a few of the dances incorporated through this musical choreographed by sophomore Bretlyn Schmitt.“[she] is incredibly talented as both a teacher and task-master,” Vanda said. “She has been an essential element in this production.”
The medley of songs flow smoothly into each other, creating a captivating melody that will have the audience clapping as they hum softly to some of the most remembered numbers found in the world of musicals. Anyone familiar with Rogers and Hammerstein (creators of the Sound of Music) will be delighted to discover that this production is filled with snippets from some of their most popular musicals like Oklahoma! and State Fair while Eggington also pays tribute to some more recent hits like Les Misérables, Wicked, Mama Mia and even High School Musical.
“Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” presents a new look at an age old concept-amour. Through song, the cast addresses questions that have lingered through the ages; giving the audience a comedic yet insightful look on what it truly means to love.
An entertaining and light-hearted production, this is a show that will bring smiles to the entire family. This performance will be held every weekend in the Lyceum Theater through September 30th.