This story was edited on Oct. 21, 2014, to reflect the corrections stated at the end.
By Valerie Bell
After a water-purifying unit broke in Lake House, a group of musical theater majors banded together to create a new student-run production company to help fund the repairs.
Tyler Daddario, a junior musical theater major with a minor in arts administration, and sophomore musical theater major Ellington Berg became the founders of the company, known as Making Good Productions, which gets its name from a cut song from the musical Wicked.
The first show Making Good Productions hosted this semester was More to the Story: An Evening of Cut Songs held on Sept. 19. The songs performed had been omitted from musicals such as Frozen, Wicked and even Legally Blonde: The Musical. In order to receive the rights for these songs, Berg and Daddario had to contact the lyricists and writers.
In fact, they had trouble obtaining rights to one song.
“We wanted to use a Jason Robert Brown song from the musical, Bridges of Madison County, but could not perform it, because the lawyers said that it was not available,” Daddario explained.
While the process of compiling all of the songs may have been challenging, the overall performance was well worth the effort, the organizers said.
“More to the Story was so enjoyable, because I was able to see such brilliant actresses do such inspired work, and it was such a fun experience,” Berg said. “What was great about the show was that students came up afterward, and said they were entertained the whole time. Students enjoyed themselves, in spite of the ‘nerdism’ of the entire evening, and that really meant a lot.”
Berg’s and Daddario’s enthusiasm for the theater is much deeper than one show’s success. They are planning to put more shows together throughout the school year.
The next event that Making Good Productions will host is called Ghostwriters. This performance, which was supposed to take place Oct. 24, will happen in the spring semester because of scheduling conflicts. The event will be open to all students and guests for free, but donations will be accepted at the door.
Ghostwriters has a Halloween concept, and the songs featured are by composers who have gone unrecognized.
“Frank Loesser contributed songs to different musicals and went uncredited. Jerry Herman also wrote songs for musicals, and has been left uncredited, as well,” Daddario said. “Ghostwriters will showcase songs written by composers that most people are unaware of.”
While Berg and Daddario enjoy creating concerts and shows together, their mission extends far beyond the stage. Their goal is to raise $1,500 to purchase an Elkay water unit for Lake House. This water unit would be used as a water bottle refilling station that will help students and faculty maintain proper vocal health.
“Our instructors always talk about how hydration is crucial for our vocal cords,” explained Jess Phipps, a sophomore musical theater major, who starred in More to the Story.
So far, Making Good Productions has raised about $150, and Berg and Daddario are confident that they will be able to afford the water unit in the near future. After making that purchase, they have their hearts set on buying other essential performance accessories. They want to acquire sturdier ballet barres for the ballet rooms, and hope to update any older equipment.
Purchasing new items is not the only goal of Making Good Productions. Daddario and Berg are on a mission to share the joy of musical theater with the entire Rider community. They want to teach everyone about their craft, and inform the public on the inner workings of show business.
“As musical theater majors, we don’t know as much about our craft as we should,” Daddario said. “We want to learn more, all while educating our public.”
Printed in the 10/15/14 edition.
In the Oct. 15 issue of The Rider News an article headlined “Students’ production of cut songs raises funds for residence hall” misattributed quotes to Tyler Daddario and stated his major incorrectly. Daddario is a theater studies major with a minor in arts administration. The quotes attributed to him were actually said by Ellington Berg.