‘Here and Now’ explores musical theater sounds

Lacey Alexander

Staff Writer

A student-organized cabaret gave three students the opportunity to showcase new musical theater songs Wednesday, March 16.

Cody Ward, a senior theater major from Phenix City, organized and performed in “Here and Now,” a 30-minute presentation of contemporary musical theater. Three students sang musical theater songs in the Long Hall Band Room for “Here and Now.”

All of the songs were written in the last 15 years, and Dr. John Jinright played piano for the event.

Ward said that his reason for organizing the cabaret was to give himself and his peers an opportunity to perform.

“People always tell you that any chance you get to perform, you should take it,” Ward said. “But there aren’t many performance opportunities for someone like me, so I decided to create one.”

Ward also approached theater majors Hunter Williams and Maggie Criswell about performing in the piece.

“I knew them personally and knew they both had good work ethic and would work hard to make the show as awesome as it could be,” said Ward about Criswell and Williams. “I also knew how talented they both were.”

Some of the songs were written as individual musical theater pieces, and some of the songs were part of a Broadway show soundtrack. One of the songs, “If I Had A Stage,” was written by Troy theater faculty member Tommy Newman.

“This semester Cody, Hunter and I started having rehearsals with Dr. Jinright once a week,” said Maggie Criswell, a sophomore theater major from Oneonta. “It was a really fun and laid-back process.”

Criswell said it’s important for new musical theater to be heard.

“I love the classics as much as anyone, but we need to hear new music,” Criswell said. “It’s the same reason we should read new books, to stay updated with the culture that we live in.”

Criswell and Williams both had one solo and one duet with Ward. Ward also sang five solos, with all three of the singers closing out the show with a three-person piece.

Williams said that the show was a good opportunity to expose the community to new art.

“I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to sing works from new musical theater artists and show the music of these artists to an audience who may not be as familiar with theater,” said Williams, a senior theater major from Valley.

Williams also spoke highly of his peers. “It was such a great experience to work with someone as driven and as hard-working as Cody and with someone as talented as Maggie.”

The Theatre Department’s next production will be its spring musical “Violet,” which will open in early April. Tickets for the production are currently on sale at the Theatre and Dance Box Office.

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