By Kathy Scott, Contributing Writer
Who doesn’t love a big Broadway musical number? Well, how about 15 average-sized Broadway musical numbers with a gender-bent cast? YAWDAORB is a fundraising event put on by SMuT, Gettysburg’s student musical theatre club. This year, SMuT was raising money for a non-profit organization called Broadway Cares, which raises money to support families affected by HIV/AIDS and organizations that supply treatment to individuals affected. Every YAWDAORB has a theme that the director(s) pick to thematize the songs in the show around. For 2019, Nikki Mountanos ’19 and Jay Hauser ’19 chose the theme, Madness, so they included songs from a variety of musicals that revolve around emotions associated with Madness.
But, here’s the catch; does the name YAWDAORB look familiar? Well, the name is actually “Broadway” spelled backwards, and for all performances, the roles are gender-bent, giving the performers a chance to sing something that they normally would not have the chance to in a normal show. This means I was charmed with an (almost) all-male “Cell Block Tango” from the show Chicago and an all-female version of “Agony” from Into the Woods, among many other incredible performances. All the music was transposed into the appropriate keys by Aaron Thompson ’19 who has also performed “Sonya Alone” from The Great Comet of 1812 and was the pianist for a majority of the show. For the numbers they were not in, Benjamin Kelly played instead, doing an equally wonderful job.
The show began with a strong opener involving the whole cast, a number from A Gentleman’s Guide to Murder and I had the blessing of hearing the entire cast warn the audience about sitting in the first or second row, which just so happened to be where I was sitting. In that moment I was scared, but intrigued to find out if something would actually happen as a result from sitting in the forewarned second row. After a strong opening and beautiful solo from Casey Creagh ‘22, I was graced with an all-female rendition of “Pretty Women” from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, performed by Hannah Kolarik ’20 and Madison Cramer ‘21. Their voices blended perfectly together, doing justice to the original voices of Todd and Judge Turpin, Len Cairou and Edmund Lyndeck.
Other notable performances were, of course, the “Cellblock Tango” with all the male cast members and Gauri Mangala ’21. Although, there was a little hiccup towards the end of the number, they were able to pull things back together to finish strong. Mangala also showed some talent of her own, by choreographing a tap number for the entire cast during “Forget About the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie, the solo being sung by Joe Maguschak ’22. One of my personal favorite parts of the show was when Maguschak was lifted by his fellow cast members in a dramatic flair.
Towards the end of the whole show, Jay Hauser ’19 gave a performance worthy of a warning to the first and second row. Singing a powerful solo from the show Company, Hauser came out with a wine glass and poured himself some water from an alcohol bottle. The first few times he raised it up, nothing much happened, but the sixth and seventh time, the second row almost got a surprise splash of water, but it was all in good fun.
Overall, this year’s YAWDAORB was a success, I can’t wait to see what the creative minds in SMuT cook up for next year!