Girls vs. Boys highlights the musical efforts of students and faculty

Lauren Mogannam

The auditorium in Annie May Swift Hall was filled with laughter Sunday night as cast members of Girls vs. Boys became the audience when they caught the first glimpse of the documentary “Girls vs. Boys: The Creation of a New Musical.”

The documentary showcased the musical, Girls vs. Boys, which premiered at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater in July as a collaborative effort between Northwestern students and faculty, the House Theatre of Chicago and the American Music Theatre Project.

A documentary of the making of the musical was part of NU’s 15-hour programming for The Big Ten Network, said Al Cubbage, vice president for university relations.

“It turned out better than I could have hoped,” Cubbage said. “It was a good way to showcase the House Theatre and most importantly to showcase our students.”

For Dillan Arrick, watching herself sing “Proof of Love” was “outrageous,” the Communication junior said.

“It felt so special because that song meant so much to me,” she said. “It just brings back everything.”

Making of the musical began last Winter Quarter when theater students enrolled in a workshop class to experience a production from beginning to end, said Steve McQuown, a Girls vs. Boys cast member.

“It was an incredible experience especially since we got a chance to work with younger directors and writers in the development of a new musical that gave us a new way of looking at theater,” the Communication junior said.

The willingness of students and faculty to work with House Theatre writers during the development of the musical made the process a success, said Jake Minton, one of the musical’s three writers.

“The support from the theater faculty and students was amazing,” said Minton, a House Theatre company member. “The best way to work on a new show is to try something out with a bunch of people who are willing to try anything and put it in front of an audience and see what you get.”

Even though the show is no longer at NU, the House Theatre is working to produce the musical at the Chopin Theatre in April and will include some of the original NU cast, Minton said.

The actors started preparing for the show Sunday and will begin rehearsing at the end of February, said Arrick, one of the four cast members who will perform in the professional production.

“So far it is completely different because it continues to change,” she said. “The heart is the same, but the story is more complex and direct.”[email protected]