Wild Party Was a Wild Success

Andrew Lippa’s "The Wild Party" was sold out every night in L. Howard Fox Theater, although between the amazing choreography, fantastic singing and phenomenal casting, it sure isn’t difficult to see why.

Wild Party was sold out every night.

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“The Wild Party” told the story of Queenie and Burrs, a vaudeville singer and a vaudeville clown who fell in love and got married, only to become bored of their relationship and lives and decide to throw a party one night: something they haven’t done yet. The performance spans a single night with action-packed love triangles, affairs, fist-fights and ultimately a death. A perfect mixture of light-hearted comedy and drama, “The Wild Party had every audience member on the edge of their seat. 

Despite being sick, Emma Kron-Deacon, who played Queenie, was perfectly fit as the lead. Gorgeous and talented, she epitomized the luminous beauty of the vaudeville singer she portrayed. Although her voice was suffering, she pushed through it without any notice from the audience. Her slightly softer than usual tone only had everyone leaning forward in their seats, wanting more of her.

Evan Ruggerio, who played Burrs opposite Kron-Deacon, was a real heartthrob. Although his character was decidedly not the most savory man out there, he still had the audience swooning at his voice (and his bare chest). Ruggerio presented the perfect leading man: not perfect by any means, but rather full of flaws and extremely real; someone who might not “deserve” to get the girl in the end, but decidedly loves her with his whole heart, despite his past mistakes. With his death came the audience’s heartbreak, right alongside Queenie’s.

“The Wild Party,” Kylie Mowry, had quite the voice playing Kate. Acting the “second best” female role, the audience really felt for her as she was brushed off by both Burrs and Black, the man she’d come to the party with.

“The Wild Party,” Teresa Morrison, was definitely the show-stopper when it came to comedy on “The Wild Party.” Playing Madelaine (“the lesbian”), she nearly got a standing ovation in the middle of the show with her rendition of “An Old-Fashioned Love Story.” Morrison provided a much-needed light-heartedness and comedy to this otherwise ultimately tragic tale.

She also presented a very real situation (although clearly dramatized) that many of the students at Montclair State may have been in through high school: members of the LGBT community can have trouble finding that special someone, especially in times or areas where free love or homo-sexual orient is not the norm, but that does not stop them from wanting a “good old-fashioned love story.” It is subtle themes like this that make “The Wild Party” so meaningful on many layers while still fun.

Phil Sloves and Kari Cotone also stole the spotlight for a while, playing Eddie and Mae, a young married couple who is very much in love; they stole the audience’s hearts with their performance of “Two of a Kind.” They both played very eccentric characters, Eddie being a bit of a drunkard boxer, and not the smartest, and Mae seeming a little ditzy and hanging off his arm the entire night. But, they both successfully charmed everyone, especially when acting as a couple because they were completely adorable. The kind of love they portrayed, the kind that is not only accepting of flaws but because of them, was extremely real and was sure to be the envy of everyone who hasn’t had that.

As a whole, the ensemble was phenomenal. There was not one point throughout the show where any character, whether or not they were in any way the focus in the scene, was not acting to their fullest potential. They gave so much face and were so undoubtedly in-character that the audience was pulled into the story before even connecting with the leads.

The lighting, set and costuming was in period as well as flashy enough to catch the viewers’ eye, and the production as a whole was decidedly “the best thing seen on campus this year,” or so a multitude of audience members were claiming as they wiped their tears and left the theater. 

Although the season for Kasser Theatre is over, interested parties are invited to check the Peak Performances website for announcements about next season’s shows.

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