Freshman musical “The Wedding Singer” receives financial assistance from TI

Sammy Caiola

The freshman musical will take the stage this year to the tune of a $500 gift from the Theatre and Interpretation Center.

This is the first year the show is part of TI’s Struble Project, which provides money and resources the musical has not had in the past, said lab theater coordinator Jim Davis.

Each year, the freshman class organizes a student-directed and student-produced musical for theater and non-theater majors. Prior to this year, students have been responsible for everything from costume design to ticket sales, with no initial budget and no faculty support, Davis said.

But Communication freshmen Hillary Aarons and Sally Lindel have changed the game this year by securing the Struble Theatre in TI for their production of “The Wedding Singer.” Co-producers Aarons and Lindel presented their vision for the show to a committee of TI staff and faculty last November, and were one of three productions out of 12 applicants to be granted the space.

Davis, a member of the selection committee, said he looks for productions that are “out of the box” and might not receive production support otherwise. He said he chose “The Wedding Singer” for this reason and because of Aarons and Lindel’s passion for the project.

“Their presentation was well-written and exciting and very different in that they had great big hopes and dreams and wanted additional resources to be able to realize them,” Davis said. “It’s very brave of a couple of freshmen to petition to be able to do that.”

Being part of the Struble project gives “The Wedding Singer” access to TI faculty and extra costumes and lighting resources as well as the performance space, Davis said. In addition to the $500 gift, TI will pay for the rights to the show, which cost $1,200 for last year’s freshman musical, “Urinetown,” according to the show’s production team.

Scott Wolf, who directed “Urinetown” for the class of 2014, said the cast constantly raised funds through bake sales, bagel sales and donation requests throughout the months-long rehearsal process. Ultimately they made enough to cover the rights as well as costumes and sets, but they chose not to use money on a performance space.

Because Harris Hall was reserved at the time, “Urinetown” opened in room LR2 in the Technological Institute, which Wolf said worked surprisingly well. Wolf said they picked “Urinetown” specifically because it could be done on a small budget.

“We were nervous, but it never really hindered us because we did a great job fundraising and we picked a show that didn’t require much,” Wolf said. “The biggest leg up they have on us is they can devote time and effort that would have been spent fundraising on rehearsing and improving costumes and sets.”

Auditions for “The Wedding Singer” were held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with TI’s spring general auditions. Rehearsals will start Spring Quarter for the show, which will premiere in early June, Lindel said.

Lindel said she is excited about the opportunity and that not having to fundraise will decrease stress during rehearsals. She also said a priority of the production staff is getting both theater and non-theater majors involved.

“The goal is to bring the class as a whole together,” Lindel said. “We don’t want this to be a ‘theater kid’ freshman musical; we want any freshmen throughout the school. It’s a sense of pride and community in our class.”

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