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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Middlebury on Broadway! Brings tradition, energy to Robinson Concert Hall

Voice instructor Carol Christensen was inspired by the musical “A Chorus Line” when staging this photo.
Voice instructor Carol Christensen was inspired by the musical “A Chorus Line” when staging this photo.

In stark contrast to the frozen scene outdoors, Robison Concert Hall was warm and bright on Saturday, Jan. 20, packed with students and theater fans alike gathered for the first ever “Middlebury on Broadway!” performance put on by ten students from Middlebury’s Music Department. 

Broadway’s 158 years of productions have included an abundance of cherished musicals such as “Wicked,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Lion King.” These shows propelled talented actors to stardom and have given the world many timeless musical numbers. “Middlebury on Broadway!” sought to pay its respects to this illustrious legacy of performing arts, and it did just that in spectacular style on Saturday night. 

Whether viewers came as die-hard Broadway fans or friends of the performers, they were not disappointed.

A total of 22 songs were performed that night, from a mix of well-known and more under-the-radar plays. Among the notable performances was Kai Fukada ’23.5, who sang “Temporarily Lost” from The Bridges of Madison County. The song is from the perspective of a photographer who wonders if there is a connection between him and a woman he meets one night. Fukada’s voice invoked a certain elegance as he sang this musing ballad.

A second song from the same musical called “Wondering” was performed by Urian Vasquez ‘25. This number was made distinct with Vasquez’s superb extended notes throughout the song.

Similarly poignant was Acadia Klepeis ’24’s rendition of “Some Things Are Meant to Be” from Little Women, a song about the dying Beth trying to comfort her sister Jo. Klepeis mastered the heartfelt tune, brightening its tragic context.

“Everybody Loves Louis” from Sunday in the Park with George was brought to life by Brianna Beach ’23.5. In the song, the protagonist Dot bemoans her old love interest and sings to him about the new love she has found. Beach’s performance carried an energy that conveyed perfectly the joy of this new start for the character.

Another similarly upbeat song was the fast-paced “If You Hadn’t But You Did” from Two on the Aisle, which Annabelle Iredale ’23.5 sang from the perspective of a singer getting revenge on a romantic interest who has wronged her.

Amidst this night of impressive vocal performances, Catherine Kish’s delivery of “She Used to be Mine” from Waitress was a highlight. The waitress, Jenna, expresses her sorrow due to her life falling apart in this musical. Kish’s vocal performance was captivating as she expressed the emotional turmoil of the down-on-her-luck waitress. 

The event was well received by those in attendance.

 “I thought that the various selections encapsulated lots of the diverse music of broadway. Whether it was Sondheim, Lin Manuel Miranda, or Jason Robert Brown, each performer brought a unique energy to their pieces that was compelling to watch,” Dani Prohaska ’27 said. “It’s events like these that truly show the talent and passion in the Middlbury music department.” 

The final performance was a four-part rendition of “First Burn,” the original version of the song “Burn” from “Hamilton.” Beach, Iredale, Kish and Mader’s distinct voices brought the heartbreak of the song to life in a wonderful conclusion to the night. 

This performance served as the last at Middlebury for a few of the featured singers. For those graduating, “Middlebury on Broadway!” was a beautiful send-off in a night that highlighted each singer’s individual ability and personality.

Editors’ Note: Acadia Klepeis ’24 is the Senior Arts & Culture Editor for The Campus.