Freshmen, transfers show off budding talents

The lights faded out and stagehands made their final adjustments to the simple black set. So began the thought-provoking, funny and well-performed scenes and songs of this year's Freshmen/Transfer Showcase.

The show opened with "Getting it Back," an episode from the play "Almost, Maine." Freshman Brooke Pearlman demanded that freshman Nathan Trombley take back all the love he ever gave her and said that she would do the same. The end of the scene, in which Nathan presented Brooke with a wedding ring in a brown paper bag, was executed flawlessly.

Next, freshmen Paul Pedziwiatr and Laura Schimpf performed their rendition of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" from "The Sound of Music." Not only did they capture the voices of Rolf and Liesl, but it was clear that they enjoyed being on stage together. It was hard not to smile as Pedziwiatr and Schimpf sang this classic song.

A scene from the comedy "Hooters" was well-chosen for its appeal to the audience. The argument between freshmen Melissa Cohn and Jessica Duan felt familiar, as if these characters were taken from their bedroom to the stage.

Freshmen Samantha Cramer, Lena Freed and Sarah Kohler acted out a scene from the play "Crimes of the Heart" like professionals. Each character's personality shone through in the sisters' dramatic conversation about their relationships with men.

This was followed by a hilarious musical theater piece, "A Stud and a Babe" from "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change." The song featured freshman Robert Kahrs and junior Rory Cushman. Both Kahrs and Cushman were fully committed to their characters, making each one-liner funnier than its predecessor. The quirky duo undoubtedly earned the uproar of applause it received at the end of the song.

Act I ended with "The Actor's Nightmare." In this short play, freshman Nick Simmons was mistaken for the lead actor in a play and thrown into a performance of the show by the stage manager, freshman Jhanae Bonnick, without knowing his character, co-star or any lines. Freshman Gabby Formica made the audience laugh out loud as she tried to pantomime what he was supposed to be saying until Bonnick began improvising as a maid in order to feed him his lines.

In a scene from "The Miss Firecracker Contest," freshmen Ashley Lewis and Aja Guzman played their roles with precision, making the audience want to learn more about each character as the story progressed.

Shortly afterward, Formica and sophomore Alexandra Priore starred in "How the Other Half Lives" from "Thoroughly Modern Millie." It was obvious that the two performers enjoyed singing the song together, each bringing a strong presence to the stage. The audience enjoyed how well their voices fit the characters.

"Animals out of Paper," featuring freshmen David Espina and Julissa Polanco, was beautifully executed. It told the story of a mild-mannered schoolteacher who asks a gruff origami expert if she would be interested in mentoring his gifted student.

Afterward, freshmen Russel Anthony and Elyssa Ramirez sang a lovely version of "Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind" from the musical "Spring Awakening." Anthony's sincerity paired wonderfully with Ramirez's powerful, controlled voice.

"Platform 7," starring freshmen Philip Romano and Emi Okada, was a definite crowd pleaser. Romano left the crowd in awe of his amazing rope magic tricks.

The showcase concluded with a modern dance by Sophomore Rebecca Andrew that featured the song "In My Veins." Her fluid ballet movements fit the Andrew Belle lyrics perfectly.

With a dozen skits and songs, it was clear the evening was an absolute success in proving that Geneseo is chock-full of new talent.