By John Brunner
“Queenie was a blonde, and her age stood still, and she danced twice a day, in Vaudeville.” With the Roaring 1920s and Vaudeville, even House Party Weekend can’t hold a candle to Michael LaChiusa’s “The Wild Party.”
Opening this Friday, the University’s Theatre and Dance department’s production of this wild classic is an exciting yet unsettling view into New York’s Vaudeville scene. Sex, booze, drugs, money and love drive the often sad, yet lovable, characters to their extremes as they try to find who they are and what they need.
The party’s uninhibited hosts, and disintegrating couple, Queenie (Eve Carlson ’12) and Burrs (Michael Strauss ’14) fight for Broadway’s elusive spotlight while Gold (Cody Stahl ’13) and Goldberg (Adam Wennick ’13) fight for Broadway’s elusive profit.
Their guests, too, fight for attention–not from the stage but from each other. As the night grows old, passions and lust, fueled by gin and cocaine, reveal their true intentions as they are forced to face the often unpleasant reality of life. While some fight for fame, Eddie Mackrel (Simeon Wimbush ’12) and Dolores Montoya (Christina Cody ’12) yearn for yesteryear and caution those, such as Nadine (Molly Davis ’14), who want to dabble in such a turbulent world.
The representation of the party culture and the decisions characters make are strikingly relevant to our current campus climate.
“Although they are completely two different times–the 1920’s and the present–the ideas expressed in ‘The Wild Party’ are completely relatable to our campus,” Pat Shane ’12 said.
Students also felt that the play gave insight into their own lives at the University.
“The content of this show is darker, and the characters make destructive choices. Overall, it’s real, rewarding and truthful,” John Thiel ’13 said.
Directed by professor of theatre Gary Grant, “The Wild Party” runs today, Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. with a matinee showing tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Harvey Powers Theatre in Coleman Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, senior citizens and youth under 18. Tickets are available online through the campus box office, by phone at 570-577-1000 and at the door an hour before each performance. Don’t miss out on the party of the year!