Live from Lawrenceville brings about lots of laughs to Spitz Theater

By Alyssa Naimoli and Nicole Cortese

From left, sophomores Nicole Fioravanti, Leanne Galleti, DeMarius Copes and senior Alexa Shanahan revealed the dirty secrets of the Disney princesses in a sketch titled “Disney Princesses Do Dinner.” This segment was written by junior J’na Jefferson.

Live from Lawrenceville…It’s Saturday Night! (LFL), a Saturday Night Live-inspired comedy show on campus, presented by Alpha Psi Omega (APO), sent students into fits of laughter on Feb. 15 in the Spitz Theater. The show brought together entertaining skits and a musical guest for three separate showings at 5 p.m., 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.

There were many changes to LFL this year, including how the sketches were chosen and the number of directors and writers. Chrissy Hartzell, a junior musical theater major and a director and writer of LFL, explained APO’s overall goals to put on a successful event.

“Our vision was much like the set-up of the NBC show,” Hartzell said. “We wanted a simple, not-too-long of a variety show filled with laughs, moments of improvisation, and definitely some audience participation. This year specifically, we wanted to add the use of ‘Digital Shorts,’ which are extremely popular on Saturday Night Live. We wanted the audience to experience many different varieties of entertainment, so that there is never a dull moment.”

Comedy was the main focus for the second annual show according to Jordan Cohen, a sophomore theater performance major and a director and writer for LFL. Having a variety of directors helped when it came to appealing to a wider audience.

“This year we have a huge amount of people with a comedy background and plans to pursue comedy in the future,” Cohen said. “Especially by having four different directors, we were sure to appeal to all different senses of humor.”

According to Cassie Fraser, junior arts administration major and stage manager, last year the crew consisted of one director, one assistant director and one head writer. This year, APO took a different approach by having four directors, and no assistant director or head writer. The four directors for this year’s event were all female and included Sloan Brettholtz, a sophomore theater performance major, Cohen, Hartzell and Gabrielle Wilson, a senior theater performance major.

“During my time at Rider and as a member of Alpha Psi Omega, SNL has been presented each year except for my sophomore year,” Wilson said. “So when they brought it back last year and it was a success on all different levels, my fellow directors decided that they were going to be interested in it again for this year because of the success it brought to the artists and to APO as an organization.”

The show presented a variety of sketches, such as a dramatic search for a last minute host and a birthday party gone wrong when Bane, a major Batman villain, joins the party. Fraser explained how each skit appealed to a different sense of humor.

“Each cast member had something different to bring to the table,” Fraser said. “We had such a diverse cast, and they had so many different talents.”

The Spitz Theater was filled with enthusiastic comedy-seekers who were eager to watch and participate in the action. For a sketch that involved a mock fraternity, Chumba Wumba Sig, audience members were chosen to participate.

“The skits ranged from Disney princesses to fraternity boys,” said Eric Dann, sophomore musical theater major and cast member. “They poked fun at a lot of subjects that people can relate to. We had the pleasure of doing two skits that used our female cast and then our male cast. Both of which were incredibly strong in their own ways.”

Sophomore Eric Dann, left, and junior Travis Przybylski had the audience in hysterics during their skit entitled “Chumba Wumba Sig,” which satirized fraternity life. The skit was written by sophomore Will Gallagher and Pryzbylski.

Cohen and the rest of the crew have been preparing for this show since the end of the fall semester.

“We had auditions before winter break and all of break to write,” Cohen said. “Once we got back to school we had two weeks to jump right into rehearsals, choose and edit scripts, cast those scripts, film our digital shorts and work scenes every day at rehearsals.”

Students were invited to submit their own sketches, which is a change from last year.

“Last year those who were interested in writing had to submit a sample sketch, and then the director and head writer chose a writing staff based on the sample sketches,” Fraser said. “This year those interested in writing were asked to submit sketches they wanted to see in the show, and then the directors picked sketches from that pool for the show.”

Last year, LFL was so popular that both shows were filled and visitors were turned away at the door. This year, a third show was added to accommodate the high demand for seats.

“We pretty much sold out all three performances,” Hartzell said. “Granted, we might have been zombies after doing three shows back to back to back, but I think it was worth it in the end. We also received many wonderful donations that will go toward our fraternity.”

Brettholtz was happy with the outcome and received positive feedback from the audience.

LFL was a huge success,” Brettholtz said. “From the feedback I got from audience members, they seemed to love it. I am very pleased with the turn out.”

The directors hope to have the opportunity to produce the event again next year and have just as much fun and success as this time. They mentioned how much hard work and dedication were put into LFL and hope audience members enjoyed themselves.

“This was an event strictly put on by the students of this school,” Hartzell said. “All of the tech crew, the directors, the cast and the writers put this together in two weeks. And we did this massive, crazy, stressful, overwhelming project because we love it. We all love comedy and making people smile and laugh and I really am proud of the work everyone did.”

 

Printed in the 2/19/14 edition

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