PREVIEW: Audra McDonald this Sunday!!

Returning to UMS for the fifth time, Audra McDonald performs this Sunday, September 15 at 4 pm in Hill Auditorium. She brings a repertoire filled with Broadway classics and in particular, a special attention paid to the works of Gershwin, having just finished her time in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. What do I love most about Audra McDonald? She has wicked pipes and a vibrant personality that makes for a stunning performance experience, sure to make any music-lover, Broadway-fanatic or not, giddy with delight. Not to be missed!

PREVIEW: Friars’ Concert

One of the University of Michigan’s most beloved a cappella groups, the Friars will present their 57th annual Best Concert Ever, Friday April 19th, 8pm in Rackham Auditorium. Wowing us with their vocals, humor, and terrible dance moves, I’m sure they will not disappoint. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults. Hope to see you there!!

REVIEW: UMGASS presents Pirates of Penzance or, The Slave of Duty

Friday night, I had the privilege of seeing UMGASS’s presentation of Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty. It was such a great show – whimsical, cheery, and largely optimistic, I am officially an avid fan of UMGASS and the work that they do.

The play itself was actually pretty similar to what I was expecting for my first Gilbert and Sullivan show. The humor worked on so many levels. There was, of course, the absurdity of pirates in this bizarre setting in Cornwall, the main character Frederic having an identity crisis and wondering what a “true beautiful woman is” when all he has known is his charming yet elderly guardian Ruth, and of course who could forget the Major-General, an attested genius who asserts the depth of his knowledge while insulting his own at the same time. The whole concept is absolutely crazy.

The other operating level of humor was of course that of intellectually-based, political satire. Beginning with a rendition of “God Save the Queen,” audience participation insisted, we are immediately placed in a time period where everyone respects, yet mocks the queen to which they serve. Not to mention the lyrics of the songs are all at once brilliant and thought-provoking. It is almost too much to see it once and understand all that is going on in the show.

Job well done to the fine folks at UMGASS – can’t wait for what’s next!

REVIEW: UM Men’s Glee Club Spring Concert

As always, UMMGC left it all on the stage last night at their Spring Concert in Hill Auditorium. The performance was spectacular and their director, Dr. Eugene Rogers, should be thoroughly congratulated for a job well done. The precision with which those men perform is absolutely admirable. While I was listening, I couldn’t help but remark how all of their faces expressed so much joy in being on stage and performing with their fellow clubbers. It was fantastic.

A distinct highlight of last night’s performance was the Friar’s performance just after intermission. The Friar’s is the Men’s Glee Club’s a cappella group, a small, auditioned subset of the larger group. They wowed us away with their utter hilarity and charm – I know I wasn’t the only girl swooning when they hit those high notes.

My favorite song of the night by far was the Harriet Tubman song in the second half. A spiritual crying, “Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff!” – it was uplifting, inspiring, and, in my opinion, an accurate portrayal of the amazingly courageous woman she was. They had Robert Hurst, renown bassist and professor at the UM School of Music, Theatre, & Dance, play on the bass alongside a fantastically rhythmic drummer. It was absolutely awesome.

Job well done to the Men last night of UMMGC and (shameless plug) if you liked what you saw last night, be sure to check out the UM Women’s Glee Club, Sunday April 21st at 4pm, Hill Aud as well as the upcoming Friar’s concert next Friday.

PREVIEW: UMGASS presents, Pirates of Penzance

April 11-14 the University of Michigan’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society will present Pirates of Penzance; or The Slave of Duty at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in the Michigan League. Now, I have never seen a Gilbert & Sullivan Society production, so I am very much looking forward to seeing this one. Pirates of Penzance is always one of those shows that high schoolers put on…or attempt to put on…so I feel like it’s an important one to see done for real, you know? According to the UMGASS website, Pirates of Penzance is the only G&S show to premier in the United States, due to a desire to upstage a show of theirs that was “pirated” by a bunch of other companies throughout the United States shortly before the arrival of Pirates on Broadway. They succeeded, and Pirates of Penzance is one of the duos most well-known and restaged productions! A story of both adventure and love, this play is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat – perhaps laughing, perhaps cringing, but, nonetheless, entertained.

For more information, tickets, etc., check out UMGASS at their website here!

PREVIEW: UM Men’s Glee Club Spring Concert

This Saturday, 8pm in Hill Auditorium come check out the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club in their Spring Concert; commemorating 100 years of Hill. One of the oldest collegiate choruses in the United States, UMMGC is composed of men from a wide range of departments on campus. Come see these fine gents display their immense vocal talents as they aim to impress, with a whirlwind of stunning pieces and brilliant flourish, as always. I invite you to cheer on our fellow Wolverines and support the Men’s Glee Club – and Hill Auditorium!! Should be a great show.