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Laugh, cry and love

Brenau senior performs a musical in repertory spanning comedy, drama and ‘everything in between’

POSTED: February 10, 2011 12:30 a.m.
/For Get Out

Brenau University seniors will perform two musical productions for four nights at Gainesville State College's Ed Cabell Theater.

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As part of his senior thesis, Jarrad Howard needed to put on a theatrical production before graduation from Brenau University.

So Howard decided on a "song cycle" style of performance, which is very difficult for a performer but rewarding as well when you can "hold the audience in the palm of your hand," Howard said.

"We knew we wanted to do a musical, but what kind? So we started thinking of some obscure musicals ... but then we thought ‘what if we did a song cycle?,'" Howard said. "It is the most raw form of musical theater because each song is its own story. A lot of times, it's just you on stage with your song."

The two song cycles in repertory are called, "Edges" and "Homemade Fusion," which is a production written by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond, award-winning playwrights in New York.

"Edges" is 1 hour and 20 minutes followed by a 15-minute intermission, then "Homemade Fusion" runs 1 hour and 5 minutes. The shows are rated R for language and adult content.

The show opens Friday and runs for four nights. Along with the performances each night will be a silent auction and a raffle to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.

Signed Broadway posters and Broadway playbills, autographed books and Broadway paraphernalia will be auctioned and raffled off to raise funds for the charity.

Howard said this is the first production, which will be performed at the Ed Cabell Theatre at Gainesville State College, he has produced himself. He said he has really enjoyed the experience.

"We just have fun. Every rehearsal that we have is just an absolute blast. The people who have sat in on our rehearsals, they are right there with us when we laugh, when we cry and it's just such a great experience to share with people," he said. "It goes everywhere across the board. There are ridiculously funny songs, there are some very touching and emotional songs, there's some really obscure and weird songs."

Howard said the show is a comedy and drama and everything in between.

"Just in ‘Homemade Fusion' we go from a stalker singing to a girl trying to convince her he's not a stalker, to a guy singing about how in love he is with this girl. And he is in love with everything about her, including her laugh," said Howard, a Flowery Branch High graduate.

There are four other seniors on the project, three of them are performing, one of them is a lighting designer. A total of 10 college students are performing in the musical. Seniors in "Edges" and "Homemade Fusion" are Alex Goldston, Robby Owenby, Jared Brodie and Howard.

"There is a theme that runs through ‘Edges' and it's all young people on the edge of making life changing decisions," Owenby said. "I sing throughout the show. I have two solos, four to five group numbers and a couple of duets. My songs are very different from each other. The first song is about hope. To get out of small town USA and make it to LA and the second is also about hope ... my mother has a terminal illness and I'm pleading for her to hold onto life and hold onto memories."

"This is the first time I have been involved with a project, and every decision has been left up to us, the seniors. Strangely, it hasn't been that hard because personally I've discovered that is how my mind works — the organization part of it, the people skills - that's just naturally how I work."



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