Tag Archives: Webster University Department of Music

Be More Chill

New Line Theatre is closing the current season with Be More Chill in a pre-Broadway version.

I attended Saturday evening.  While the rest of the run is sold out, some educator tickets and student tickets may be available each of the remaining evenings over the next two weekends.

I’ve been attending New Line shows for many seasons now, and I was employed by the company as Resident Music Director for three seasons.  My music-directing majors from Webster University have been involved for the last three years as well. (That’s the full disclosure.)

This production of Be More Chill is New Line’s finest work in some time.  The show feels organic, complete, totally satisfying, with acting and singing that are uniformly strong.  Mike Dowdy-Windsor and Scott Miller pulled together a stand-out, believable cast full of age-appropriate types with pipes and the ability to make the characters zip off the page.

The show is subversive in some ways, starting out with apparent stock characters who then become increasingly complex.  And the big moments are delivered in song, which I love indeed. One standout moment — gripping and haunting and lingering in my mind today — occurs early in the second act, when the sidekick to the lead comes face-to-face with his own reality, delivered in the tear-jerking “Michael in the bathroom.”  Kevin Corpuz has never had a better moment on stage.

Jayde Mitchell engagingly carries the show.  He has an appealing stage presence and a sweet voice that, after a few early moments of squishy intonation, locked right in.  His angst, his change in character, his moral dilemma — all carried the punch they needed to make this show work.

I was talking with Scott Miller after the curtain, and commented on how organic this show’s humor is.  He noted that the show is not funny intentionally, but that the humor derives from the all-too-natural human situation.  As I’ve commented before, Scott is brilliant at directing shows where normal people do abnormal things.

Nic Valdez, Webster BM in Music Directing for Musical Theatre ’19, is the music director.  The ensemble was rock solid, and the few choral moments were glorious.  The show was tight, with nary a slip of diction or a misplaced release.  Leading the whole production from the keyboard is Webster senior Marc Vincent, who with this show is making his first big outing leading the band while playing the show. His fingers barely leave the keyboard, and he’s brilliant.  I was one proud teacher Saturday evening.

Other reviews, this time by professionals:

Back at work

Returning from Morocco, jet-lagged and weary and worn, but carefree in some ways, I am now back at the office.

And the cares have returned!

Friday is our last audition day of the season. We should see another 10 students or so who wish to come to Webster.

I’ll take the weekend off, then hit the summer punch list hard on Monday.  Our decennial accreditation visit happens in just over a half-year, so much of my summer will be spent on that.

The next holiday beckons in early July!

Memories of this week:


Commencement 2019

Another group of students has walked across the stage to emerge as university graduates.

On a wet, cold, miserable day, we made the most of the time and sent almost 100 fine arts graduates into the world.

While I’m pretty certain that those in charge made the wrong decision about staying at the Muny in the rain, hindsight is always clearer than foresight.  And I simply do not understand why leadership doesn’t read the crowd and the situation and truncate remarks, get to the main event, and cut the spotlight short except on the graduates.

I’m stealing some photos from Jennifer Hylton-Whited’s Facebook page to add to my own:

Easter tidings

Through a window screen, and outside my home office window: a dogwood in full flower.

This week has brought tidings. News. Clarity.

Spring is in full bloom.

The day job is kicking my butt right now.

Christ the Lord is resurrected.

I know more of the path of my life now than I did four days ago.

Old friends have enlivened my days.

School is winding down, but not really.

Voice students are thriving.

Bedding plants are going in the ground on this Easter Sunday.

And all is well.

At the Easter Vigil, we were reminded of our baptismal vows.