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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

'Extraordinary Women' musical revue to showcase women's empowerment

Saint Mary’s will present “Extraordinary Women,” a musical revue to launch the College’s new minor in musical theater, this weekend at Haggar Parlor. The interactive revue will include songs from some of the best Broadway shows including “Oklahoma!,” “Wicked,” “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady.”

Associate professor of theater Mark Abram-Copenhaver, who is directing the revue, said that the show’s aim is to showcase women’s empowerment through musical theater.

“We looked at songs from musical theater that have been sung by women, and one of the things we discovered was that in so many of the songs, the woman is singing about a man,” he said. “It’s kind of disproportionate if you think about the fact that there’s a whole range of subjects that men sing about in musical theater. So in developing this revue, we looked at characters who are singing about things other than a man, and it was very interesting because the characters that we found were all really cool, extraordinary women.”

The musical revue will be showcased this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and tickets can be purchased from the Moreau box office, Abram-Copenhaver said. Your ticket price, he said, includes food, coffee and tea, and there will also be a cash bar.

“There are about 23 songs throughout the evening from a range of musicals,” he said. “A lot of them the audience will know, and some of them will be completely new. The coolest thing [about] the evening is that it all takes place in Haggar Parlor, which is a formal meeting room that we’ve converted into feeling a lot like a nightclub. Everyone will be seated at small tables, and the performances are done table-side, so the performers will be right next to you. It’s a going to be a lot of fun.”

Sophomore Rachel Thomas, who will be performing in the show, said that she was nervous in the beginning because nothing like this had ever been done before.

“The revue follows a narration with various themes throughout, and it's kind of a mixture of a cabaret and a musical all in one,” Thomas said. “People do cabarets all the time, but this cabaret is interactive with the audience. It’s not on a stage where you're just watching and someone goes up to the mic and sings something and then walks off. We haven’t done anything like this. In a way we’re ‘breaking the fourth wall’ as actors say.”

Thomas said that this revue is very relevant to Saint Mary’s students because of the overarching theme of women empowering women.

“This revue shows us that there's more to women than just dramatic ballads and whining about men,” Thomas said. “All the songs aren’t necessarily about being strong. I sing about how I'm struggling because women struggle. We’re so much more than what society tells us that women are supposed to be, and this show contributes a sense of depth, and unity and a sense of oneness. I really think it's going to empower and inspire many women on this campus because it inspired me.”

Thomas said the best part of the show, for her, is that each of the performers has an equal role in the show and they all convey a unique and different story.

“The great thing about this show is that no one has a better role than anyone else, and I love that because it shows us that we’re not trying to compete with each other as women,” Thomas said. “We do have men involved in the show, and at one point we open up with men singing typical songs sung about women, and then the women come in and take over. This revue really shows how these are extraordinary women in musical theater that aren’t just singing about men or aren’t just singing about their problems. They really are ‘defying gravity,’ and they have ‘confidence’ and they can ‘forget about the boy.’”

Saint Mary’s graduate student, Elaine Lynch said that the revue is a very unusual, yet amazing way to experience musical theater.

“The amazing thing about this revue is just how we've been able to take so many important and awesome female characters throughout musical theater history and really showcase those really unique extraordinary women throughout our show,” Lynch said. “It’s also interesting how the story, the show and the songs all kind of have general themes and can work together in the entirety of the revue. So even though the revue itself is made up of songs from all kinds of different shows, it really does tell a cohesive story which I think is pretty cool.”

Lynch said that her favorite part of being in the show is getting to learn from and work with other talented students who are committed and passionate about what they do.

“It’s really exciting because it allows students to take on the roles of these incredible women who have been showcased in musical theater, and it kind of allows us to step into their shoes,” Lynch said. “I also think that it not only provides an awesome way to showcase extraordinary women, but it also showcases some of the extraordinary talent that we have at Saint Mary’s.”