By Chloe Miller ’14
Trinity male student actors perform onstage in the off-broadway play The Rustics Dream in NYC
Trinity musical theater is moving up in the world, with an off-Broadway production of the musical A Rustic’s Dream in New York City last weekend. The musical was written and directed by Trinity’s professor of music Gerry Moshell, and specially performed at The Barrow Group Theater on W. 36th St in Manhattan. For the six members of the all-male cast, the opportunity to perform in New York was a once in a lifetime.
The play has two very distinct parts: the first half follows the actors and ‘characters from the “Pyramus and Thisbe” scenes, a “play within a play,” from William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as they try to convince Shakespeare to write them a comedy of their very own. They are rejected, and then struggle to write their own show. This is where the play gets its name: these are the “rustics,” comedic in 1595 England. The second acts shifts in mood as the six “rustics” turn to the modern day. The storyline continues, but the characters are now actors in a modern-day production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast members play themselves as modern-day actors. Scenes from “Pyramus and Thisbe” are placed throughout both acts, interspersed with the actors’ struggles to write their own show.
The music shifted from a more traditional musical theater into a modern combination of rap, boy band, and “Blue Man Group”- style music. This was Professor Moshell’s goal when he started writing the show, and though the combinations were interesting, they worked out well. “He really played to each of our strengths,” said Will Yale ’12, who plays the characters of Starveling and Moon, “We each got a number that really matched our voices.” Brandon Serafino ’14 helped write some of the lyrics, including the rap number.
The Rustics Dream consists of a modern-day twist on Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream
The full cast consisted of Kyle Beek ’12, Scotty Eckenthal ’12, Elliot Faust ’12, Brandon Serafino ’14, Trey Zenker ’15, and Yale. Five of these six young men are also members of the celebrated a capella group The Accidentals, so singing and rehearsing together was nothing new. Auditions were held towards the end of last semester, and the cast sacrificed two weeks of their winter break to crunch through rehearsals on campus. On Sunday, Jan. 15 they packed their bags for the big city to do final rehearsals at the TBG Theater. Three shows were held over the weekend of January 20-22, including sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday night. They were mostly private shows advertised to Trinity Alumni, friends, and family. The show brought in even more Trinity Alumni action with special private dinners at the new restaurant Gravy, owned by Kenneth Halberg ’96. Halberg was a part of musical theater at Trinity as well, filling the weekend with old and new friends of Trinity’s impressive theater program.
Performing in New York City was certainly exciting for the cast members. Yale says, “New York is such an exciting and energizing place. Our creative ability was really pumped up.” It created more stress because of the unfamiliar theatre, the travel, and the increased pressure, but was all around a great experience. For Zenker, a freshman, it was a good introduction to musical theater here at Trinity. “I didn’t know much about Trinity musical theater, but the story seemed interesting and it was really exciting to perform in an off-Broadway musical,” he said.
For those of us who couldn’t make it to the Big Apple for the show, it will return to Trinity. Performances are set for the weekend of March 1st-4th at Austin Arts Center. Mark your calendars, because you wouldn’t want to miss Trinity’s talented young men making their way to the big stage!