For NERDS’s winter semester musical, we enter the town of Honeyville, where everything revolves around bees and honey. When the town’s bees disappear, it is up to Charlotte Peppers and Penelope Wright to work together and find out who the bee napper is. BEES the Musical is a story about finding friends, finding similarities in differences, and, of course, finding the bees. The musical is this weekend, April 5 at 6pm and April 6 at 1pm and 6pm, in the Palmer Commons Forum Hall. Bee there or bee square.
Many people remember the Flint Water Crisis that occurred now 5 years ago, but it is simply that — a distant memory of the extensive news coverage that has slowly faded from our collective minds. However, though there are no more national news reports about it, the issue has not been resolved, as Flint residents have battled for clean water and answers for five years and counting.
José Casas, playwright and SMTD faculty member, has transformed this tragic event into a powerful play that documents the effects, aftermath, and current state of this once-avoidable crisis. Based on true stories of Flint residents collected personally by Casas, “Flint” gives power and strength to the city and combines the monologues of pain and reality into this educational, documentary play that will hit close to home and open people’s minds and eyes to what our neighbors have dealt with and continue to deal with.
SMTD’s play “Flint” premiers tonight and runs for eight nights. Taking place on the blackbox stage in the Arthur Miller Theatre, general admission is $30 or $12 for students. The showtimes are as follows:
April 4 and 11 at 7:30 PM
April 5, 6, and 8 at 8 PM
April 7 and 14 at 2 PM
Rude Mechanicals is performing one of the greatest pieces of Southern Gothic literature and modern American theatre. “A Streetcar Named Desire” follows Blanche DuBois, a Southern belle coping with personal losses who goes to stay with her sister Stella in New Orleans. There, she witnesses the volatile relationship between Stella and her husband Stanley, and her involvement can only lead to pain. Tennessee Williams’ brilliant play is taking place in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre this weekend at 8 PM on April 5 and 6 and 2 PM on April 7. Tickets can be bought at MUTO in the League Underground, where a Passport to the Arts can be redeemed for a free ticket as well.
I arrived at the Keene Theater at 7:55pm, only to find that the theater was already full and it was standing room only. I found a spot in the back along the wall where I could still mostly see the stage, and after a couple more people trickled in, they announced that the theater had reached max capacity and no more people could enter. One person involved with Room 6 Productions walked past me and exclaimed to her colleague setting up the video camera in the back, “I thought no one was going to come!”
Indeed, many students, and many people from the public as well, wanted to see this one-night only, 15-minute musical, making it a popular and successful hit. Since the musical was so short, there was a narrator who provided important commentary in the beginning and in between songs to set the stage and move the plot along. Bryan Chan played Justin, a high school student that sees this transfer student Naomi, played by Maya Balleste, and instantly tries to win her over, asking what the heck he’s gotta do. She tells him that she wants marijuana, and though Justin doesn’t smoke, he does everything he can to get it for her, in the name of love. Though, Naomi, an undercover cop, eventually turns him in, she reflects on the smart and innocent kids that need to be taught a lesson, yet she can’t get them out of her head, referring to Justin and her care for him. This somber ending to a relatively funny and entertaining musical tried to pinpoint the pains and struggles of drug use in schools.
The music was very characteristically Lin-Manuel Miranda. As Brian Heyman, Ani Keshamouni, and Karthik Ganapathy, who made up the ensemble, played the three cousins who used their networking skills to get Justin his marijuana, they rapped and sang in the style that evoked images of Hamilton and Maui from Moana. Since the musical was so short, there didn’t really seem to be anything substantial, but the music was still great, the characters had their distinct personalities and development, and the acting was on point and made the 15 minutes really entertaining.
On March 29, 2019, two magnificent women from Portland took over The Ark, capturing the night with their unique sounds and instrumentation for a night of pure and magical music.
Lily Breshears, who usually tours with Haley Heynderickx in her band as the bassist and keyboardist, took the stage first with her synth, a harp (a rental, in replacement of her harp back home named Spreadsheet), and a mic. She opened with a song about the dysfunctional long distance relationship, but later countered it with her hymn about relationships that are so good, it makes you forget all the pain, or be thankful for it because it led to the present. Her song, “Pick Up Game,” combined basketball references and pick-up lines, and she ended with “Wet Plastic,” which should honestly be the anthem for the #MeToo movement. Breshears’s voice and her harp weaved together harmoniously, setting the stage with her stunning musical aura for her good friend to follow.
After a short break, the most charismatic and comedic musician came out to mesmerize her fans with her Portland accent. After some tuning, Haley Heynderickx first performed a song with Breshears to ease into her own solo show, though she summoned Breshears back to the harp for two more songs later in the set. Heynderickx captivated us with her songs from her “I Need To Start a Garden” album. From priest-like praying mantises and successful exes to the wonderful mantra “Oom Sha La La,” Heynderickx’s music combines the emotionally poignant with the humorously absurd, creating music that is both thought-provoking and meaningful. Her guitar techniques were truly mindblowing, and the strumming, plucking, and melodies complemented her voice perfectly. Heynderickx also performed some covers and even threw some impersonations in there. For her encore, she treated us to some new songs in the works, giving us a little teaser to be excited about for the future.
Heynderickx’s music features some of the most underrated, beautiful, and meditative singing and lyrics, and seeing her perform live, with her nerves and all, made for one of the best concerts I’ve been to. The two musicians’ personalities and styles fitted together perfectly, their gentle and soft-spoken manner drawing us in to listen carefully to the stories they are telling, making their musical styles even more compelling.
If you’re a fan of 21 Jump Street and Lin-Manuel Miranda, this mini musical is for you. Even better, it’s only 15 minutes long, so even if you’re drowning in midterms and papers and stress, you can make the time for this refreshing and entertaining break. There’s love, drugs, and deceptions…think 21 Jump Street set to music and shortened. This free Room 6 Productions is taking place on Sunday, March 31 at 8pm in the Keene Theater in East Quad.