Theatre at Manhattanville never stops—immediately after Avenue Q’s wrap, where students signed posters and reflected on their experience, the read-through for Broadway at Manhattanville’s (B@M’s) I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change began. Directed by senior, Mario Pavon, this show chronicles the many stages, tribulations, and hilarities of romance—covering everything from disastrous first dates, to finding time to have sex in a marriage. Each actor plays a variety of characters—and almost every behind-the-scenes role is fulfilled by a student.
Last year, B@M’s first student run musical, The 25 th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee successfully played to two sold out houses. Like Spelling Bee, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is funny, smart, and features a small, versatile cast.
There are some wonderful new additions to the team. Chris Pecci, a Manhattanville musical theatre graduate of 2015, has returned as Music Director, with Music Education major Andrew Murray as Assistant Music Director.
“[Chris] is insanely talented, and he acts very professionally throughout rehearsal,” Murray said. “He knows when it’s time to buckle down and work. I worked with him for a little bit when we were both in Crescendbros, and it’s an honor to work with him again.”
This year, B@M is thrilled to have Danielle Case, a sophomore theatre major, and the secretary of B@M, serving as Assistant Director of the show.
In addition, B@M gives students the opportunity to focus on skills related to, but not entirely encompassed by their major. For example, junior musical theatre major, Jillian Sharpe returns as the production’s choreographer this year. At Manhattanville, she has performed in many dance concerts. She is a member of Dance Troupe, and recently worked as Assistant Director/ Choreographer for A Doll’s House, directed by Carol Fox Prescott. This is another chance for her to lend her talents beyond just the musical theatre department.
Further, B@M gives students the chance to work outside of their most comfortable element. Musical theatre senior, Sarah Buturla, is known across campus for her amazing voice, and she has been featured in Showtune and Side by Side by Sondheim, just to name a few. However, you can also find her behind the scenes, returning as the Costume Designer for B@M’s production.
“Performing comes naturally to me,” she says. “Being offstage with costumes is harder work, but the work I put in makes the show so much better. It makes me smile, watching the full finish and seeing everyone look good.”
Buturla is not the only busy student involved in the production. For example, freshman music education student, Erin Burtchaell, is a member of Manhattanville Sound and Manhattanville Dance Ensemble, in addition to performing in the B@M show this year.
“I’ve started rehearsals for both the Spring Dance Concert and the B@M Musical, which has created a very crazy schedule for me,” she says. “However, I am loving every second.”
Performer Deanna Lee Torrisi is also a music education major—but she has been featured in Manhattanville’s mainstage productions of Working and Showtune , in addition to serving as President of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) and Music Director of the X&Y Chromotones. Despite these many performance projects,
she finds that rehearsing for B@M’s show has been extremely rewarding, and that the cast and crew are held to a high standard.
“The only difference is that it’s student-run and the rehearsal schedule is very different,” she said. “Besides that, I feel that the productions are treated with a very similar standard of professionalism as the main stage productions while still opening up the opportunity to perform for students who might not have the opportunity to perform in the main stage shows. Even though it’s run by your peers for the most part, there is a great deal of respect and ambition to work hard that goes into the production.”
In order to raise money to fund the production, B@M will be hosting a variety of events. This semester, they will be holding two bake sales in Brownson Hall: Tuesday, March 27, 12:00p.m.-5:00p.m. They will also be holding a fundraiser at Chipotle in Rye Brook from 5:00p.m.-9:00p.m. on Wednesday, March 28.
Although these events will help to cover the costs of the production, tickets to the show itself are free. The cast and crew are thrilled to perform.
“I can’t wait to see everyone in those seats on opening night!” exclaimed director Mario Pavon.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change will run Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20, at 8:00p.m. in the Berman Theater. Contact B@M at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.