40 singers and dancers will perform what could be billed the ultimate Broadway experience in Baton Rouge.
The LSU Musical Theatre class doesn’t offer just a few songs from a single musical but a revue of selections from a variety of musicals.
The old, the new, even the original — it can all be found in the class’ 13th annual Singo de Mayo concert on Sunday. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the LSU Union Theater.
The action will be nonstop as one number continually gives way to the next, all fully costumed and choreographed.
“This is my third year in this class, and the program keeps growing,” Curran Latas says. “And the quality is always high.”
Latas not only is one of the performers but a composer of one of the songs, as well. He co-wrote and staged the musical, “A Thousand Words,” in Theatre Baton Rouge’s Studio Theatre earlier in the year, and his classmates included his song, “You Will See,” in the revue.
This is a first for Singo de Mayo.
“The students suggest the numbers for the program, and we pore over them to try to figure out what will work,” says Terry Patrick-Harris, the LSU School of Music’s professional-in-residence who teaches the class. “We include a lot of solos and duets to feature as many students as possible, and we were happy to feature Curran’s work. So, we have a song by one of our own students this year.”
Class veteran Mason Griffin has made his sixth annual trek from New York to Baton Rouge to serve as musical director, and fellow veteran Adam Gilbert is the choreographer.
“And I have Greg Gallagher as my teaching assistant,” Patrick-Harris says. “This is the first year I’ve been assigned a teaching assistant, and Dean Todd Queen is considering expanding the class to two hours next year.”
The LSU School of Music has no official musical theater program, so the Musical Theatre Class is as close as it gets. A variety of majors are represented, with some members performing in productions staged by the LSU Department of Theatre, LSU Opera, LSU Dance Ensemble, Ascension Community Theatre and Theatre Baton Rouge.
Two of the students appeared in the 2012 feature film “Pitch Perfect.” The class has even included an LSU Golden Girl.
Students are allowed to take the class multiple times, and they receive credit each time they take it. Receiving credit means passing the course. So, Singo de Mayo is not only a production but the students’ final project.
Could earning a grade be more fun?
“I loved taking this class,” Griffin says. “And every year, there’s no question that I’m going to schedule this time to come back to Louisiana to be the music director for this show. I’ll always come back because of my devotion to Terry Patrick-Harris and this Musical Theatre class.”
“Singo de Mayo’s” lineup includes selections from such shows as “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Hairspray,” “Cabaret,” “Carousel,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Addams Family” and “Avenue Q.”
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the class gathered in the LSU Dance Studio for a complete, nonstop run-through of the program.
No one was in costume, and the only audience was the cast’s reflections in the studio’s wall-to-wall mirror. But that didn’t stop them from performing as if they were on the Union Theater’s stage.
Sure, there was a misstep here and there, along with a few missed lyrics, but that’s what rehearsals are for. And the students showed their professionalism by never stopping.
The show begins with “Be Our Guest,” from “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” and it’s perfect, because all 40 cast members are on stage, welcoming the audience to their musical experience.