This past weekend, Friday night to be exact, I attended my first student musical south of 42nd Street. While I believe in the statistics on how fierce the talent pool is in New York, I remained skeptical of the show's East Village location, smaller production value, and young cast. My skepticism was wrong and out of place. The caliber of this production matched that of anything you see on Broadway, while having a story line that was sincere, truthful, and thoroughly entertaining.
The musical, which was written and directed by an NYU dramatic writing professor, exposes audiences to sad but honest truths most of us face as we enter the real world. While being unorthodox in its approach, the plot of the show revolves around a high schooler struggling to keep up with the competition. She eventually goes on a wild goose chase in hopes of becoming America's next pop sensation. Obvious, yet creative, plot twists bring the protagonist Stacy Star face to face with her dream. The trials and tribulations were perfectly executed in a fun, light-hearted, yet honest tone.
While not being an expert on musical theater, I have seen my fair share of productions, be it from Broadway shows to elementary school renditions of Little Shop of Horrors. The acting, performances, and overall atmosphere of this performance really did blow me away. Dance moves were executed with exact precision, musical notes were never missed, and I found myself consistently entertained and amused. The writing was sharp, witty, and sometimes hit painfully close to home. I noticed myself, being drawn to the plot of this story more than most musicals I have seen.
Usually when I attend theater, it is to get away from reality and to take me back to some point in time where things are a little different. This musical starts out the same way, however I notice the truths of high school politics, student loans, and the overall ability to make a name for yourself in this world, standing out more and more. We live in a world where it is far too easy to be negative and condescending when we should be supportive and motivational. If this musical taught me one thing, it is to believe in yourself. To understand that odds may be against you, things may not always go your way, and chances are you will have moments in life when you need nothing short of a miracle to make things work. This performance puts everything into perspective but, rather than being pessimistic, the writing, acting, and overall tone of the performance left me optimistic for things to come.
I was very impressed by the caliber of this performance. Everything about this show, be it the actors, writers, or tech crew showed me just how much handwork can really take you. There really is no business like show business, for more reasons than just one. Actors are facing higher and higher levels of competition, similar to the odds faced by the main character. No matter how difficult things get, or how many obstacles you may face, you must not give up on your hopes and dreams.
I highly recommend seeing this performance during its run at The Theater For The City's First Avenue location (155 1st Avenue).
General admission tickets can be purchased for $15, while students and seniors can purchase their tickets for $12. Performances begin at 8:00 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as a Sunday matinée at 3:00 p.m. For box office information feel free to call (212) 254-1109, or visit www.americanstarthemusical.com for more information. The show began its run Friday and runs until the 28th.
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