I love the musicals where the ensemble comes out to perform multiple numbers. ‘Hair’ was one of the musicals where they made fantastic use of the whole cast. Colorful, wild, and energetic, ‘Hair’ was an exciting and dramatic performance. The actors’ wide-ranged, fast movements that filled the stage throughout the whole performance created the vibrant, dizzy, and youthful vibe that the hippie community (“tribe”) was sharing.

I also want to applaud the stage design and the set. While the actor’s vibrant moves were supposed to be the main part of the show, the set was there to back the actors up and make their moves even more dramatic. The colorful lighting design and stage set design served different purposes depending on the scenes. The orange/green colored one with squiggly patterns added to the vibrant energy of the show, while the skeleton concrete building which was the main structure of the stage design shifted from imaginary homes to a spotlighted platform for people that needed emphasis by the spotlight during Claude’s hallucination where George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Scarlett O’Hara were introduced. The concrete-looking structure was designed neutrally enough to be perceived as a different location in each scene. It was a marker of space separation, which was highly necessary for this musical where the focus had to shift from one actor to another in a quick beat, and imagination and real-life interacted in the same space.

The most interesting moment for me was when Claude expressed his dilemma between his hippie identity and the call of the military after his hallucination. After he went through the hallucination passively, he, for the first time in the performance, got rid of the confidence of his hippie self and showed his vulnerability by being torn between his faith and duty. The change was most dramatic when he listed all the ‘practical’ and ‘proper’ job names such as lawyers and dentists. This is the part where he connected to being a real person in the performance, not a single-sided hippie-persona who is mercifully away from all the worries and woes of living. The actor playing this part made the change very clear.

Another interesting feature was how every actor nailed the expression of excitement and jolliness but added so much diversity to it. The people on stage felt like real people, not just people pretending to be constantly happy, which is impossible. If I ever get to see this performance again, I’ll be focusing on the actor’s expressions to catch the details of their actions.

Lastly, about the message: I think this musical spoke about how the ‘normality’ appraised by society could be dangerous. Through the dramatic contrast between the Hippie “tribe” ’s life and the ‘normal’ life of the audience, ‘Hair’ is speaking about how the dangerous concepts and urges could be appraised by being framed as ‘normal’.


Musical ‘Hair’, the classic rock musical, is being presented by the School of Music, Theatre&Dance’s Department of Musical Theater until this Sunday! This musical has history: based on a novel by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, the original performance opened on Broadway in April 1968 after its off-broadway debut in 1967. It did a revival in 2009 and won the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The musical will take place in New York City as it follows the Bohemian lifestyle/politically active group. Several of its songs were used in the anti-Vietnam War peace movement.

As its history suggests, this musical will explore concepts of “identity, community, global responsibility, and peace”. I am really excited to find out how university students’ youthful energy will make synergy with this classic discussing the ideas that never got outdated. It’s also amazing that we can see a revival of the Tony Award-winning musical on campus. Don’t miss your chance to check this out!

+) Content warning – contains references to sexuality, war, racism, and drug use, may contain nudity. Recommended for Ages 17+


This weekend, the Arthur Miller Theatre buzzed with ecstatic energy and uncontainable pride during a three-night run of DOGFIGHT. I have never witnessed a musical with such raw emotional power. Set in San Fransisco in the 60s, DOGFIGHT explores the peaks and pitfalls of human experience through a realistic lens— love, death, war, and naivety culminate in a final theme of the capacity for human growth. While much of the subject matter is heavy, effortless wittiness provides balance, eliciting echoing laughs from the audience. It’s impossible not to audibly react to DOGFIGHT— you don’t realize how immersed you are until a shock pulls you back to reality.

The environment of the Arthur Miller theatre may be the perfect venue for this show— each wall lined with just a few rows of seats, the experience is intimate no matter where you are. Old televisions are perched above the rows, creatively displaying videos that draw the audience into the setting, but not in a way that overwhelms the performance. The cast of students clearly adopts their roles like a second skin. Their microexpressions and tender moments feel genuine and the chemistry between characters elevates the realism of the relationships. On top of the gut-wrenching and heartwarming theatrics, the orchestra visibly playing at the back of the stage adds another degree of genuine talent. It was refreshing— to say the least— to witness so much passion and dedication in one place.

DOGFIGHT doesn’t drag on, but rather allows just enough time for the dynamic characters to fulfill their arcs. It’s equal parts satisfying and saddening; after all, DOGFIGHT is bluntly realistic in its portrayals of war and life’s unfair battles, refusing to glaze over the grittiness of the 60s and the social dynamics of that era. The way the men talked, their speech packed with misogynistic jabs and self-absorbed ignorance, tinged with an obsession with violence, is a powerful social commentary on masculinity and war; is it an outlet? A solution? Or just a masked attempt at proving one’s worth? On the other side of the gender binary, DOGFIGHT analyzes the woman’s dilemma; can men ever be trusted to be unconditionally and honestly loving? The leading female character, Rose, is often treated as an extension of the leading male character, Eddie. I wish her character’s aspirations and confidence had been explored more outside the bounds of reactions to Eddie. However, the love story takes reasonable precedence as DOGFIGHT builds a vulnerable relationship.

DOGFIGHT was an exhilarating ride of a musical. A fervently emotional portrait of war-torn America and tough love proves that even the dark and deeply flawed is worth working for. This was one of the best free experiences I’ve had at Michigan, and I look forward to seeing more University of Michigan productions in the future.


Although I’m typically not a fan of musicals, there’s something intriguing about DOGFIGHT. The admission is free, which already provides a decent incentive for college students lacking funds, but the premise of the musical is particularly interesting, and watching talented UMich students pour their hearts into a performance is guaranteed to be an awe-inspiring experience.

Based on a film, DOGFIGHT takes place in the 60s and follows the story of marines preparing to be sent across the sea. They celebrate their last night of freedom by placing bets on who can find the ugliest girl to bring to a party. Questionable and immoral, I know, but the plot focuses on one couple and has a romantic twist that brings out the soft side in us enemies-to-lovers trope enjoyers. The play examines old-fashioned beliefs, war, vulnerability, and how traumatic events can change our perspective on the world and ourselves.

The performance will be held at the Arthur Miller Theatre, a small and intimate venue. I’ve never attended an event at the venue, but I’m interested in how the small space will transform the experience. Witnessing the talent of fellow students with this degree of closeness is bound to be spark pride in my status as a Wolverine and elevate the emotionality of the performance exponentially.

Once again— tickets are free! Tomorrow is the third and final show, so show up early to support the performers of UMich and be part of a wild ride.

REVIEW: Funny Girl

I remember walking past the sign “Funny Girl Auditions ↘” in the Michigan league and wondering what “Funny girl” was. This was in September. I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that Ummusket was able to audition for people in September and showcase something as good as Funny Girl in November.

The actors were phenomenal. From the very beginning, watching the protagonist Fanny walk down the theatre aisle, I could guess this will be a show to remember. The actors had skillful control over their voice and there were hardly any-if any at all-moments when the signing or the dialogue delivery was not good. The actors had good chemistry: not just the main lead and her love interest but the mother, the brother, the aunt, and many more.

The dances were well done. There were scenes where Fanny took a trust fall while singing, actors sang while jumping, pretending to fall etc. and their singing was still impeccable. The costumes mimicked the period of the play very well. The props, the lighting-all these were planned strategically and their use was top notch.

The orchestra, like always, was just wonderful and really helped the musical.

One thing about the musical was that the story does jump around a little. The beginning is about Fanny not being pretty/skinny enough to be a broadway star but she gets the main roles quite easily and then the story turns into a romantic drama and we don’t really touch on the subject we started off with. The jokes, dances, and songs of the play keep the story interesting.

All and all, hats off to everyone who worked in the production of Funny Girl. All throughout the play, the audience members were loving it and cheered everyone on. In the end, people gave the cast a standing ovation so you know this was a crowd favorite!

Do. Not. Miss any productions from Ummusket.

REVIEW: Funny Girl

Musket’s production of Funny Girl, originally a Broadway musical with Barbara Streisand, has an electric energy that can’t be forgotten. Running for just three nights at the Power Center on Central Campus, it can easily be missed; but, for all musical-lovers and Michigan students within walking distance of the theatre, keep your eye out for future productions at this location and other productions by Musket. The effortless humor and colorful characters of Funny Girl filled the venue with a liveliness that stuck with me even after I left.

I am typically not a musical-goer, as I prefer the believable effects and immersive atmosphere of typical movie theaters, but something about Funny Girl set it apart and drew me directly into the bustling and competitive setting of New York City. Surrounding the life of the awkward, stubborn, yet uniquely charismatic actress Fanny Brice, the musical explores her strenuous rise to fame. We witness her navigate the cutthroat competition of theatre in the Big Apple; we see her embrace her triumphs and mourn her defeats; and, most notably, we watch as she learns how to navigate the complexities of love and family in her gold-gilded life as a star. My favorite aspect of the story— besides experiencing the exciting growth of such an interesting character— is the focus on theater. Watching a musical about musicals adds a sense of realism; the actors are performing a story, but it is a story that is relevant to their own experiences. Many songs are performed in a fictional musical, so watching those scenes in an actual musical theater setting feels completely immersive.

The stellar cast raises the performance to another level. Carly Meyer, who plays Franny, captures the awkward humor and headstrong demeanor of the character perfectly. From classic clumsiness to goofy dance moves, the loud and unapologetic ambition of Franny echoes throughout the venue, as well as her strong and expressive voice. Each cast member brings incredible vocal talent to the stage as well as a specific energy and personality; ranging from the mysterious and wealthy Nicky Arnstein, played by Sohil Apte, to the brashly humorous Mrs. Meeker, played by Gavin Brock, the variety adds to the excitement of the show.  The score is iconic and unforgettable, featuring fast-paced classics and romantic ballads. The live pit orchestra added dimensionality and depth to the lively music. Through the live music and incredible vocal talents, the sound of Funny Girl is magical at the very least.

The relatable and in-touch nature of the subjects of Funny Girl— the awkwardness, the difficulty of love, and the blinding allure of success— creates a production that is far from fantasy. Funny Girl enticed me with its characters, drew me in with its realism, and captured my heart with its nostalgic score. Next time Funny Girl comes around, or any other Musket production, be sure to grab your $7 student ticket and catch it while you can.