By Tara DeLorenzo
From a dysfunctional family conducting a cooking show to a spin on The Devil Wears Prada to demonic possessions, Live from Lawrenceville, it’s Saturday Night, with special guest host Associate Dean Ira Mayo, will be causing fits of laughter in the Spitz Theater on March 7.
Directed by senior musical theater major Eric Dann and hosted by Alpha Psi Omega, this event features 11 performers and will consist of an array of original skits, including some of Live from Lawrenceville’s favorite characters, as well as some new ones.
With such a fun-filled evening planned, the cast wanted to reach the biggest audience possible, so it decided on Mayo for this year’s host. This is Mayo’s first time hosting since 2004.
“We really wanted to have a draw for students,” Dann said. “Last year, we had one of our faculty from the School of Fine and Performing Arts do it, and we saw a big audience for it, but I still wanted to reach a wider audience. I thought, ‘With him as dean, everyone knows him.’ I thought that would bring people in. I’m most excited for [the audience to see] Dean Mayo — for everyone to see him out of his element and not as a dean, but as an actor and comedian.”
Mayo is excited to return to the Spitz and to work with the students on the production.
“I hosted in 2004, and I was asked by the current students to host again. It was such a great experience that I jumped at the chance to do it again,” Mayo said. “I see another side of the students, and they see another side of me. You can tell that for the students, this is a labor of love. The writing is great, and the performers are incredibly talented. The creativity and originality of the sketches are amazing, and I am impressed at how they craft a scene, working it over and over to fine-tune it, until it ‘kills.’”
With such a variety of performers, these original sketches offer a little something for everyone. Each is light-hearted, pun-filled and laced with pop culture references everyone can relate to and enjoy. One that Dann is particularly proud of puts a spin on a fairytale favorite.
“[All the sketches are] all my babies, but [my favorite is] actually the one that I wrote called ‘The Godfather,’” Dann said. “It’s basically the concept of ‘What if Cinderella had a Godfather instead of a Godmother?’ It’s been in my mind ever since we started SNL, and I wrote it and it just really worked. So we played with it and added some new characters to it. It’s really been a joy to work with that, and I’m excited for people to see it.”
The performance is very much a team effort, and each sketch has morphed from its original draft into something that reflects each cast member’s individual humor and ideas.
“Everyone in this show is truly wonderful,” Dann said. “They all have a creativity that’s just their own, so we find that a lot of the scenes have a lot of their individual humor and creativity in them. They made my job easy.”
Mayo is excited to see how the audience reacts to this jam-packed event.
“I hope that they laugh their faces off,” he said.
Dann also hopes that the audiences will be entertained by the show, especially in light of world events.
“When I was proposing the show, one of my biggest points was that after everything with Ferguson, [Missouri], and after everything that’s just happening now with the beheadings and ISIS and everything like that, I think we all need to laugh,” he said. “It’s easy to do a drama and get to the emotional side of things, but to make people laugh really brings joy to my heart, and that’s what I hope people get out of it— just a night of pure laughter.”
Live from Lawrenceville, It’s Saturday Night will be held on March 7 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested.
Printed in the 3/4/15 edition.