Class shares talents with Broadway showcase

Earning a grade couldn’t get more fun.

Not when it involves dancing, singing and simply having a good time. Which is what happens each time students in the LSU Musical Theatre Class get together to rehearse for their upcoming “Singo de Mayo.”

“This is their final project,” said Terry Patrick-Harris, the LSU School of Music’s professional-in-residence for voice.

She’s been teaching the Musical Theatre Class for 14 years. The students will be graded on this final show, but audiences also look forward to the class’ annual Broadway showcase. Each number is complete with choreography and costumes and will play out Sunday on the LSU Union Theater stage.

The lineup includes 26 songs from such shows as “Kiss Me Kate,” “A Chorus Line,” “Hairspray” and “Footloose.”

Now the “Footloose” number is significant, because 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the movie on which the musical is based.

The film starred Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. The title song is just as fresh as when those feet danced on the screen during the opening titles in 1984.

Perhaps that’s because the dancing feet now belong to students in the Musical Theatre Class, which is the closest program the LSU School of Music has to a musical theater curriculum. The class isn’t limited to music or theater majors and includes students from all parts of the university.

The breakdown of the class’ 46 members is 10 music majors, including two graduate students; 11 theater majors; five mass communication majors; two communication disorders majors; three biology majors; two chemical engineering majors; two history majors; two anthropology majors; and one major each in management, economics, marketing, business administration, accounting, psychology, arts and humanities, computer science and animal dairy and poultry sciences.

Some members have performed in productions staged by the LSU Department of Theatre, LSU Opera, LSU Dance Ensemble, Ascension Community Theatre and Theatre Baton Rouge. Two of the students appeared in the 2012 feature film “Pitch Perfect,” and one is a Golden Girl.

“Singo de Mayo” is a musically action-packed program that comes up for air only at intermission.

Mason Griffith will be the piano accompanist. He’s a former student who is now a musical theater accompanist, coach, conductor, music director and organist in New York.

“This will be my third year at ‘Singo de Mayo,’” he said. “I come back to LSU each year especially for this program. I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Mason was hoping we could fit in a song from ‘Hello Dolly,’” Patrick-Harris said. “It’s the 50th anniversary of that musical, and he’s a big fan of Jerry Herman, who wrote the songs for it. But we couldn’t fit it in this year.”

But there are plenty of other songs on the program, all submitted by students to Patrick-Harris. Some were solos, some duets but the majority were ensemble pieces.

“I asked them to try to keep the ensembles in mind, because we have 46 performers, and we needed a lot of group numbers so everyone could be in the show,” Patrick-Harris said.

In the LSU Dance Rehearsal room in the Music and Dramatic Arts Building, some students were running through their dance routines while others couldn’t help being attracted to a rack of clothing. These are some of the costumes they’ll wear in the show.

“Costume day is the best,” Patrick-Harris said, laughing. “The LSU Department of Theatre helps us out with that, along with Center Stage Performing Arts Academy in Gonzales.”

She called everyone together, and the room was silent.

It was time to kick off those Sunday shoes and dance to “Footloose.”