A Small Glimpse of Theatre at Lawrence

by Lauren Turner on April 15, 2019

There are lot of amazing opportunities at Lawrence, from athletics to music and so much more. However, a huge part of Lawrence life is the theater department. Every year, Lawrence puts on multiple different shows, both through the mainstage opera produced every year (this year was the musical Pippin), and the 4th Biennial Fred Gaines Student Playwrights Series that occurred this past winter term. This is really cool, because it showcases three different plays written by current Lawrence students. The mainstage opera is also an incredible theater opportunity at Lawrence. The opera department has won several awards throughout the years for its amazing productions, the most recent being The Count Ory in 2018, which won the first prize at the National Opera Association – Best Opera Production, Division 4. However, there is another theatre opportunity that I will be going into more detail about: SPAMALU.

SPAMALU is a Lawrence University theater club, short for Student Produced Amateur Musical Productions at Lawrence University. Every year, this club helps create a student-run and directed production, whether it is a play or a musical. Each production is run completely by current Lawrence students in all aspects; the director is a student, as well as the musical director and any managers or stage crew. The current SPAMALU production this year is Little Shop of Horrors. I have had the greatest honor to be in this production, which occurred just this past weekend, and sold out almost all of the shows. Each of the productions occur in Cloak Theater, an experimental black box theater in the Music-Drama Center in the conservatory.

The best thing about SPAMALU productions are how connected they are with Lawrence students. As the cast and crew are all current students themselves, they understand how crazy Lawrence schedules can be. I first heard about Little Shop of Horrors through the director and musical directors, Mikaela Bolker and Maggie Smith, as both of them are involved in my sorority as well. I had done musical theater in high school but hadn’t gotten a chance to get involved in theater due to my crazy schedule. Although I decided not to audition for the show to keep my mental health up, I knew that I wanted to get involved, so when Mikaela and Maggie contacted me about being the puppeteer for Audrey II, I jumped at the chance to be involved in the show.

There are a ton of different students that helped create this show. While the director, musical director and actors were all students, there were also many people behind the scenes that helped make this show shine. All of the set and costume design, as well as much of the technical behind-the-scenes work was done by students as well, and they really did a phenomenal job. It’s been an amazing experience being in Little Shop of Horrors, and while I am sad that I didn’t officially audition for the show and get to sing and dance in it, I knew what I could and could not add to my life, and I made sure to take care of myself. Although many Lawrence students get involved in a lot, it makes the biggest positive impact when you balance what you want to do and what you can do. In the end, I’m happy that I got to be a puppeteer in the show and be a part of the Little Shop of Horrors community!

The cast and crew of Little Shop of Horrors

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