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Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013

Pitching for Broadway

UWM students stage a musical revue

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UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts’ theater program opens its first show this coming weekend. Last weekend, two students from the musical theater program presented a one-performance-only senior capstone project that was free and open to the public, What You Don’t Know About Women, a musical revue performed by students Kelly Cline and Samantha Goodrich.

A commercial musical revue tends to be bogged down by old, tiresome standards that are nauseatingly familiar. Not fettered by the need to sell tickets, Cline and Goodrich put together a program of lesser-known tunes. With the accompaniment of Kerry Bieneman on keyboard, Goodrich and Cline created a very entertaining act of cabaret-style musical theatre.

The overarching story that tied the songs together was that of Goodrich and Cline pitching an idea for a Broadway musical. The two performers played on their strengths quite well. Cline’s is a lithe, energetic stage presence—she glides through the space. She’s got a nice voice, but her real strength lies in the comedic end of musical theater. Her manic and nuanced performance of “My Party Dress” from Henry and Mudge was a hilariously precise musical comedy characterization of a precocious little girl. Later on, she delivered a much more sophisticated comic exploration of desire and chocolate with “Oh Henry! Bar” from Homemade Fusion.

The more musically dynamic of the two, Goodrich has an impressively robust voice that played to the deeper emotional end of things quite well. The quiet desperation of a woman on the ledge in “Just One Step” shows a kind of dramatic potential that this program showcased quite well. Her realization of the old classic “I Got the World on a String” cast light on a talent that clearly has the ability to stylishly breathe new life into old material.
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