The Wild Party will show until April 27 but Tuesday, April 23, is FREE for all University of Miami students with cane card.
The feeling I get right before I see a show is something that is unparalleled by anything else in my life. I’m sitting there, in the dark, and there is this ethereal feeling in the air that emanates boundless potential. As a student in the Theatre program, I had intentionally stayed away from rehearsals and asked my friends in the cast not to play me any of their recordings of their music rehearsals. I wanted fresh eyes and ears. For some reason, the hype around The Wild Party had been buzzing around the University of Miami Department of Theater Arts since the show was announced in December of 2017. Expectations were high across the board. On Thursday, April 18, I woke up excited and after a full day of wishing my friends “happy opening,” I was ready.
The energy in the theatre that night was electric. As the music began, I could feel the entire audience’s laser focus on Dayana Corton, the University of Miami junior playing Queenie, one of the four principal roles. She sat center stage under hazy, yet somehow precisely focussed, lights and commanded the room. The rest of the cast began to enter in an exciting bout of sharp choreography and tight vocals. The lights shifted to reveal a platform in the middle of the audience. There stood Burrs, played by Noah Vesey, another University of Miami junior. Queenie and Burrs’s entrances in the first three minutes of the show were the perfect indicators of how thrilling the rest of the show would come to be. The other two principal roles, Kate and Mr. Black, played by Alecsys Proctor-Turner and Jordan Kiser, respectively, had entrances of similar flare.
The show touches on issues of class, addiction, gender and domestic violence. “The interesting thing about this production, which is set at the end of the 1920s right before the market crash, is how much of what was going on in the world is being repeated today,” said Julio Agustin Matos, Jr., Director/Choreographer & Assistant Professor of Theatre. “my hope is that people will recognize the parallels between our challenges today and the issues touched upon in the show.”
One of the most beautiful things about this show is that, even as an audience member, it is easy to see how closely bonded this cast is. “I feel like everyone has been very consistent throughout the process and I’ve had a really good time working with them,” said Alessia Cusumano, University of Miami sophomore and member of The Wild Party ensemble. “It’s a lot of fun working with your best friends every night.”
The show has many messages but two, in particular, really resonated with me. The first being that “that love does not have to be cruel,” as Corton so eloquently put it. “It is something that’s supposed to lift you up, not tear you down.” It is easy to feel like being loved is essential for our survival. This show forces you to remember to find your worth within yourself, not somebody else.
The second message is, perhaps, even more clear cut. The idea that nobody is perfect resonates throughout the entire show.
“We are all broken,” Vesey said. “But we have to make conscious choices to be better. The mere recognition of your flaw is step one, but in order to avoid catastrophe, you have to take active, corrective steps. I think that’s the biggest thing for audiences to take away from this show.
The Wild Party will show until April 27 but Tuesday, April 23, is FREE for all University of Miami students with cane card. “I think this show makes several comments on the world,” Kiser said. “I would elaborate but y’all just going to have to buy a ticket.” Take his advice, do yourself a favor, and go see The Wild Party at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.
words_gabby rosenbloom, photos_jenny abreu