The lights went out in the Alice Austin Theater, causing the crowded auditorium to go silent. Suddenly, a spotlight hit the stage, bringing the seated figure of character Jenny Steinberg—played by musical theater major junior Katelyn Brooks—into clear view.
Brooks launched right away into the first incredible, belting solo of the hilarious and surprising musical titled “It Shoulda Been You.”
“It Shoulda Been You” was performed in the Alice Austin Theater from Feb. 14 to the Sunday Feb. 18 by a cast of students talented in every aspect required for a musical: acting, singing and dancing. As well as the singers, the music was performed by an equally talented orchestra, keeping the production authentic and impressive through and through.
The lyrics and script of “It Shoulda Been You” were originally written by Brian Hargrove, while the music and concept were created by Barbara Anselmi. For this Geneseo production, Scott Scaffidi served as director, coordinator of the musical theater program Don Kot was the music director and Katie LeSuer was the choreographer.
The story revolves around the wedding of Jenny’s sister, Rebecca—played by musical theater major junior Erica Milliman—to her fiancé, Brian—played by international relations major sophomore Will Snyder. Leading up to the wedding, the day is chaotic and frantic and every character has their own individual struggle as the hour of the ceremony becomes closer.
The song, which the musical derives its name from, “It Shoulda Been You,” was a crowd favorite for its hilarious lyrics. This song features Rebecca’s parents, played by mathematics major freshman Rocky Nardone and musical theater major junior Maria Floriano, as they try to talk Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend Marty into convincing Judy to marry him instead of Brian.
Marty, played by musical theater major sophomore Brett Hammes, has his own reasons for trying to stop the wedding, and agrees to help them. Judy’s parents tell Marty that it “shoulda been” him because the family loves him much more than her current fiancé.
Through the course of the musical, the audience found themselves laughing, crying and shouting with delight when plot twists caught them off guard. Subjects such as body positivity, challenges of being Jewish and the struggles of coming out as LGBTQ+ to loved ones were examined during the performance in a politically correct and inclusive manner. This was both a welcomed surprise and an educational opportunity for the audience.
One song, “A Little Bit Less Than,” was heart-wrenchingly informative about the struggles of being homosexual. Rebecca sings this song after it is discovered that she is in a committed relationship with her maid of honor and confesses to Jenny why she hasn’t told their parents that she’s a lesbian—she doesn’t want them to look at her as if she is “a little bit less than” what they think she is now.
Psychology major freshman Casey Griffin attended the show and thought it was an excellent showcase of talent.
“You could really tell how hard everyone involved worked to put on such an engaging show,” she said. “All the performers were amazing.”
The Geneseo Music Department really outdid itself in this socially progressive, hilarious musical. The work displayed in this performance was a reminder of the incredible abilities of the students and staff at Geneseo and proves that the Geneseo Music Department is really a wonderful resource.