Our Man Harry & Where the City Sings

Courtesy of Noelia Veras

By Noelia Veras

For the Students by the Students, a show titled using the CenterStage motto, was a program which allowed students the autonomy of creating a show by themselves. CenterStage is an on-campus organization that allows students, regardless of major, to participate in various shows throughout the year. The students involved did everything from directing and costume design to music composition. On Saturday, February 9, two plays were directed by students and presented in Heritage Hall: “Where the City Sings” and “Our Man Harry.”

Students from all corners of campus gathered in Heritage Hall, completely filling the large space. They watched their peers create a show by filling a wide array of positions, whether they were directing, narrating, singing, acting, or playing an instrument. The atmosphere was thrilling and inspiring.

The first show was “Where the City Sings,” a musical production directed by sophomore musical theatre major, Lydia Gifford. The music was composed by Evan Brende, the book and lyrics were written by Nicholas Rao, and the music director was Brendan Harper. The show recounted the experience of a diverse group of people standing outside of a popular bakery in New York City. The people embodied the classic archetypes found in New York City: the aspiring youtuber, a born and bred New Yorker who was also a millennial girl, a tourist couple, a beggar, the NYPD, and a hotdog vendor. The production was striving to recreate the specific atmosphere of New York City.

The play took a myriad of twists and turns, constantly keeping the audience on its toes. The show went from discussing the negative impacts of constant social media use, to unraveling the concept of deceit and manipulation. Overall, the musical covered a lot of ground regarding the specific detriments of the twenty first century and those which have been present for all of history.

“The message that resonated with me most is the idea that every single person you encounter or pass by on the street has a unique story,” said sophomore musical theatre major Ashley Nguyen who played the millennial New Yorker.

The next production was “Our Man Harry” an American Revolutionary war piece directed by sophomore musical theatre major, Cecilia Bracey. The music was composed and directed by Rebecca Nisco, the book and lyrics were written by Lindsay Adams. Using the background of the war, the production explored the fixed gender roles that were present in society at the time, especially in regards to women’s roles as housewives and men’s roles as soldiers.  

This was accomplished by exploring the relationship between a woman named Harriet and her husband Levi. Levi goes to war as a medic, deeply upsetting Harriet. Harriet, feeling helpless and misunderstood, enlists and pretends to be a man. The story follows Harriet’s legacy and how she indirectly changed the lives of women to come.

“I chose to be in the production ‘Our Man Harry’ because I felt as though the message was something that we can definitely connect with nowadays, it being very much about women’s empowerment and reversing social norms” said Freshman Economics Major Chris Carey who played the General Commander.

These performances embody CenterStage’s talent and work ethic. CenterStage has been a part of Catholic University for 40 years, utilizing arts as a unifying force, treating their program as a stepping stone for the theatrical industry. Considering the turnout, the event was a smashing success and the overall performances were extremely well organized.

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