By Kimberly Ortiz
Audiences found themselves revisiting the biggest hits of the ’60s with Rider’s fall musical theater cabaret, Flower Power, on Oct. 23-24. Directed by professor of musical theater Mariann Cook, with musical direction by Wendy Feaver, the show featured an all-female cast who brought great energy to the stage throughout the performance.
Featuring a colorful set shaped like a ’60s-era television screen, the show opened with a typical television commercial that one would have seen at the time. Before each song, a commercial was played as an introduction to the next song, similar to the way a television show would return after a commercial break.
Opening with the group number “Watch the Flowers Grow,” the performers gave a great preview as to what kind of music the night would include. Though the performance was slow for an opening number, the next performance, featuring junior musical theater majors Marissa Galletti and Sara Davis, brought plenty of energy to the fun, flashlight-themed piece, “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
This duet was just one among several charming solo performances, including sophomore musical theater major Rachel Sherman’s take on the Carole King classic, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” which featured backup vocals from three fellow cast members.
Breaking up the duets and solo performances were numbers featuring the entire cast. By including dancing according to the song, it allowed for an even livelier performance.
“I Want Candy” had a great amount of dancing that brought an abundance of enthusiasm to the entire show. The performance of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” had minimal dance to it, showcasing the theme of girls having a sleepover, wondering what their lives would be like in the future. The performance, led by sophomore musical theater major Sophia Introna, featured a change in costumes from go-go style dresses to pajamas.
While many of the songs performed during the night were full length, there were several creative mash-ups arranged by Feaver, as well. The “Car Medley,” that featured songs relating to automobiles, included the Beatles’ “Drive My Car” and ended with junior musical theater major Clare Harkin’s rendition of “Mustang Sally.” The medley allowed for a different take on themes, also relating to women and their status in society at the time.
“The Look of Love,” performed by senior musical theater major Maria Garvey, featured junior musical theater major Caysi Dennis not only as a part of the performance acting-wise, but a part of the featured dance break that captured the performance perfectly, especially as a way to fill in non-singing parts. Garvey, who also served as the dance captain for the production, brought her elegant choreography skills to not only this piece, but to all of the performances as well.
The final piece was one that reflected the entire show wonderfully. Just like other fun songs of the era, “Aquarius” featured the entire cast. And just when the audience thought the show was over, the women tied “Aquarius” in with the hit “Let the Sunshine In,” a great song to close out the show.
Flower Power as a whole was a great way to not only look back on the music of the time for some, but to introduce these classic songs to generations to come.