By Alyssa Williams
On Oct. 9 and 10, the Emerging Student Theatre Artists (ESTA) performed a staged concert of “Holy Musical B@man,” in the Rifle Range Theatre. Isabelle Rutens, a sophomore theatre major, directed the show, with a cast featuring 16 students.
ESTA is a club that provides the opportunity for students interested in theater to write their own shows, or direct already written shows, and produce them for the student body. Funded by the office of campus life, all tickets for ESTA performances are free. Any profits made from candy sales and/or raffles, are donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that helps fund HIV/AIDS research, and those affected by the diseases.
ESTA recently produced “Holy Musical B@man.” Starring Brendan Murry and William Pope as Batman and Robin respectively, the performers made the audience laugh with even the smallest lines. The singing and dancing were extremely entertaining, showcasing the cast’s talent while still fitting well into the theme of the show.
The show was a hit with the audience. “I know it made them [the audience] laugh, so honestly that’s the best I could ask for,” Rutens, the director said. “There is nothing more rewarding than being the source of someone’s laughter.”
“I wanted to do HMB because I have an undying love for Starkid [the theatre company that originally produced the show],” Rutens said. “I have been a huge starkiddie since my freshman year of high school. Now being a sophomore in college, I felt like it was time to manifest that love [into] something on stage. Over the summer, I was telling my PTC Big [in the theatre department, freshmen are assigned a “Big” as a mentor to help them throughout college] about my love for Starkid and she suggested proposing a Starkid show for ESTA’s 2016-2017 season.”
Rutens chose “Holy Musical B@man” because she knew these were characters that people would want to play, and the idea of a Batman parody musical would draw a lot of interest for auditions. “It’s also very well written and concise, and so, so hilarious. It was really the obvious choice for me,” she said.
The show was originally a full, two-hour stage production. As the ESTA version was a staged concert, it was slightly edited by students, Rutens, and Brandon Bennett, the musical director.
“I decided to do a staged concert mostly because if I were to do a full show, I would have to give it the attention it deserves, and in reality I just didn’t have time for that. Neither did my cast,” Rutens said. “Doing a staged concert was different because the overall runtime of the show was much shorter than if it were a full production [The ESTA production was roughly 45 munities shorter than the original production]. So instead of worrying about getting everything done, I could worry about making the littles scenes we had had really shine. I could afford to be nitpicky about some things because I didn’t have a full production that needed my attention.”
“Holy Musical B@man,” was first written and produced by Team Starkid, a musical theatre company founded by Glee’s Darren Criss, and his friends and fellow students Brian Holden, Matt Lang, and Nick Lang, according to its website. The company is well-known for making parody musicals of popular franchises, such as “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and “Aladdin.”
First produced in March 2012 at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, “Holy Musial B@man” a parody of the DC comic books superhero, Batman. It makes fun of things such as secret identities, sidekicks and friendship between heroes. The music and lyrics for the show were written by Nick Gage and Scott Lamps, and the book was written by brothers Matt Lang and Nick Lang, all of whom are members of Team Starkid.
ESTA’s next production is “No Control,” an improv night at 9 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the End Zone at 9pm. “The Every 28 Hours Plays,” a show of 90, one-minute plays inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, follows on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Hillwood Cinema. For more information on “Holy Musical B@man” and other Team Starkid shows, visit www.teamstarkid.com.