On April 26th, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. the San Francisco Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Musical Theatre Department presented Colors of Love at the Dan Kryston Memorial Theatre. The whole show was written and directed by the Musical Theatre Department students themselves. Members of the band playing for the show included Eli Recht-Appel on guitar, Simon Clinton on drums, Alex Farrell on bass, and Erika Weil on piano. Technical support was done by Wil Gil, Glenn Quilici, Sam Travers, Ian Scheiman, Gabe Pothier, Iain Langlands, Carlos Sandoval, and Mohamed Benkhelouf. Cora Nelson was the costume director, and assistant costumers were Josie Clark-Steinmetz and Savannah Occhiogrosso. Jessica Makhlin was the student music director and Charles Platt was the dance captain. Mackenzie Rohan, Ella Francis, Briea Lemay-Eder, Molly Robins, Ben Stacy, Ryan Doyle, Isidora Kecman, and Anisa Henry were assistant directors and choreographers.
In my opinion, the plot was unsteady and not clear enough for it to be easy for the audience members to follow it with ease. I understood the idea of gathering different songs from different musicals and forming a new and independent plot out of them, but it left the audience sometimes lost and confused as to what had just happened or who the main protagonists were. It would have been appreciated if the show consisted of separate numbers, rather than having a plot and the songs leading the audience further into the plot. I found it very inspiring that while talking about heterosexual teenager love, homosexual teenager love was also intertwined as something not out of the ordinary and not shameful at all. It is very common for homosexual teenagers who aren't sure about themselves yet to be pressured by society and to think that asking someone of the same sex as you out is something deserving scorn or mockery.
Great acting skills were demonstrated in "Life With Harold" from The Full Monty. Isidora Kecman was singing at the 7:30 p.m. show (the one I went to) and Maya Rowe was singing at the 5:00 p.m. show. Joe-Joe Kelly, playing her husband, was very good at acting different emotions out while Ms. Kecman gorgeously sang. The song before this one was "Family" from Dreamgirls and this included Sadie Alan, Kevin Lopez, Skyler Sims-Dickson, Josie Clark-Steinmetz, Cora Nelson, Maya Rowe (5:00p.m), Jackson Padock (5:00p.m.), Ryan Doyle (7:30p.m.), and Isidora Kecman (7:30p.m.). In this song, I particularly enjoyed the ensemble. It must be difficult to sing as a big ensemble without a conductor.
"Still Hurting", "Quiet", and "Stars and the Moon", performed by Briea Lemay-Eder, Mackenzie Rohan, Katrien Van Riel (5:00p.m.) and Ella Francis, Savannah Occhiogrosso, and Anya Hirota (7:30p.m.) was a very memorable section in the show. Since I saw the 7:30 p.m. cast, I can't say anything about the 5:00 p.m. cast. I can say that I loved the wave of emotional singing coming at the audience from all three singers. Once the mood of three broken-hearted women was set, Summer Cuyjet appeared on stage and "Falling out of Love Can Be Fun" was sung by everyone on stage. Summer Cuyjet achieved the optimistic mood and lighted up the morose and grave tone set by the three broken-hearted wives. Summer Cuyjet was a conduit in between the songs producing a followable plot line.
"Two People In Love" from Baby the Musical was wonderfully performed by Jackson Paddock and Charles Platt. The stunning singing accompanied by skilled acting made this song extremely fascinating to watch. Ryan Doyle sang the role that Jackson Paddock sang, only he sang it at the 5:00 p.m. show (the one I missed). I have, however, heard Ryan Doyle as Don Basilio in the Once Upon A Diva show; and having missed his singing in Colors of Love, I know that I have missed something truly interesting.
"All Shook Up", featuring Johnny Kelly, Ben Stacy, Skyler Sims-Dickson, Sadie Alan, Mara Schumann and Josie Clark-Steinmatz, was one of my many favorites because of the high spirited dancing and the energetically involving singing. Also, Ben Stacy's and Johnny Kelly's charismatic presence on stage raised the audience's spirit. The next song I particularly enjoyed on the program was "The Story Goes On" from Baby the Musical, featuring Gabby Chun, Lucy Murphy, Josie Calrk-Steinmetz, Mara Schumann, Sadie Alan, Cora Nelson, Savannah Occhiogrosso, Anya Hirota, Ella Francis, Briea Lemay-Eder, Mackenzie Rohan, and Katrien Van Riel. Julia Farrow sang the solo part at 5:00 p.m. and Ciara Carvajal at 7:30 p.m. I found it pleasant how during this song various members from the ensemble stepped up and sang something separate from everybody else.
Overall, the choreography and costumes were very well matching. Round of applause to the technical support students. Great job to Katie Kerwin who was the director and Erika Weil who was the musical director.
I was left with a bitter-sweet mood after the show because I was expecting more festivities on the topic of love and youth. I was waiting for a grandiose conclusion of love's all consuming victory. Something like a firework of love.
Todd Wedge for his amazing support!
Keith Carames, Paul Kwapy (Technical Theatre Department), Brad Hogarth (Band) and Matt Cmiel (Orchestra) for sharing their talented students Arianna Refuerzo-Carvajal for designing our beautiful posters and program Cynthia Francis for helping organizing parent volunteers.