GV Opera Theatre showcases ‘Wonderful Town’

GVL / Ben Hunt

GVL / Ben Hunt

Jacob Creswell

On Friday, Feb. 15, Grand Valley State University’s Opera Theatre presented “Wonderful Town,” a production originally created by composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green. GVSU’s run of the productions began the weekend of Feb. 8 and wrapped the following weekend on Feb. 17.

“The fizzy, festive, cocktail is about the lighthearted, sweet and funny quality of the music and the jokes,” Schriemer said. The swinging show tunes of the musical depict the effervescent charm of New York City, wrapped up in the story of two sisters chasing their dreams.

“Watching student performers learn how to land jokes, sing great songs, do jazzy little dance numbers and creating friendships among the cast is the most exciting thing about this whole process,” Schriemer said.

Schriemer explained that a production of this caliber required a lot of hands on help — which meant recruiting very large cast and crew. 

“Twenty-five student performers are on stage, twenty-five musicians are in the pit and another twenty work backstage on the production elements,” Schriemer said.

The lead actresses in this production are Mikayla Berghorst, who plays Ruth, and Elise Endres, who plays Eileen. Schriemer described these two characters as “sisters from Columbus Ohio who go to NYC to seek their fortunes,” elaborating on their mishaps along the way.

“Through a series of funny, awkward and silly situations they finally find success and happiness and they begin their new lives,” Schriemer said.

Auditions for these productions are typically open to all students. Live theater is a group effort that thrives best with a diverse team that can think outside of the box, so students in any program are encouraged to keep an eye out for audition postings. Schriemer stated that music majors generally make up the majority of cast and crew members. 

“Wonderful Town” has seen Broadway showings and has been covered by The Wall Street Journal. The production, originally based off of a 1953 novel, was revived for Broadway showings in 2003 by Bernstein, Comden and Green. The revival ran from 2003 to 2005 and was nominated for several theatre awards.