Winter musical to enthuse viewers via themes of love, companionship

Pictured above is the cast of the winter musical, “It Shoulda Been You.” The show will run from Feb. 14 to Feb. 18 in the Alice Austin Theater. The production follows a soon-to-be married couple from different religions and the intense familial conflicts that surround their potential matrimony. (Courtesy of Erica Milliman

Hard work, cast collaboration and a strong sense of community are what will make this year’s winter musical an astounding success.

Performances of the musical “It Shoulda Been You” will be held in the Alice Austin Theater from Feb. 14 to Feb. 18. The show, which ran on Broadway in 2015, tells the story of a Jewish bride and a Catholic groom whose families clash on their wedding day. At the end of the day, the sister of the bride is forced to take control as events progress for the worse.

Junior musical theater and communication double major Katelyn Brooks plays the bride’s sister, Jenny Steinberg, and enjoys the show’s emotional journey. 

“[The show] touches on a lot of issues that are close to the heart, but it’s also super funny,” she said. “It’s a comedy, but there are also tender moments as well. The rollercoaster of emotions it can [bring] people is what I’m most excited for.”

To prepare for the musical, which features music by Barbara Anselmi and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, the cast members returned from winter break a week early. They spent around eight to 10 hours a day working on music rehearsals. 

Coordinator of the musical theater program Don Kot is the music director of the upcoming winter musical, who described the process of putting together a show. 

“A lot of the prep work is done at auditions … by assembling a great cast and a great band and then starting to work with them,” Kot said. “They do a lot of preparation outside the first rehearsal too. They get their scores and scripts and are ready to go when we start rehearsal and then we do a sing-through [and] read-through around the piano.”

The musical, which is approximately an hour and 40 minutes long with no intermission, is uniquely formatted. 

“This show has all of this high energy—there’s a lot of elements of farce in it,” Scott Scaffidi, who is directing the Geneseo production for his third year in a row, said. “Going along with that, we decided to put all of the furniture on wheels and to have the set be this … very large and bi-level set with all of these doors and moving parts so that the show never stops.”

Choreographer Katie LeSeur has also returned, having choreographed the spring 2017 musical “Gypsy.” LeSeur has liked the collaborative process while working on this musical.

“In production meetings where we share our ideas, everyone keeps bouncing off of each other,” LeSeur said. “It’s a lot of really great teamwork, which is a great foreshadowing of what the show will be [like].”

One of the most integral parts of the production is that just as the show is about a family, the cast and crew have become one as well.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and writer of Broadway’s “Hamilton” famously said, “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love,” as he accepted his Tony award in June 2016. The quotation has been used numerous times in reference to the college’s production. 

“We do open on Valentine’s Day, but the love that we have in the room between the cast, the crew, everyone in the room, is going to come out in the material and be shared with the audience in such a huge way,” Kot said.

Musical theater and communication double major freshman Carl Treiber, who plays the wedding planner, Albert, stated that the audience is sure to connect with the musical’s story. 

“I think it’s going to be a show that people can relate to. The audience will be able to see themselves in the characters—there’s a lot of relatable, flawed characters who have different, unique journeys,” Treiber said.

The show is one that the cast, crew and audience will appreciate after weeks of hard work. Tickets are $15 for general admission and can be purchased from the Brodie Box Office one hour before each show or on the Brodie Box Office website.