Western Carolina begins theatre season with ‘Seven Deadly Sins’

On Sept. 10 and 12, Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen, and the Musical Theatre Program presented the musical performance of ‘Seven Deadly Sins and Other Vices.’

The production was split into two parts.  The first half of the show spotlighted songs from popular musical theater that illustrated the seven sins of sloth, wrath, gluttony, lust, pride, greed and envy.  The student cast from WCU’s Stage and Screen department were accompanied by a live orchestra.

The second half of the show was a performance of Kurt Weill’s haunting mix of opera and ballet, “Seven Deadly Sins.”  Written on the eve of World War II in Europe, the one act opera is an exploration of both good and evil.  “Seven Deadly Sins” tells a story of a girl named Anna who is played by two women, Anna I (the singer) and Anna II (the dancer), who is on a journey to earn money to help her poor family build a house.  WCU’s version of the show was set in contemporary Louisiana.

I was highly impressed with the layout of the show, and with most of the actors/actresses.  My personal favorite was the song “A Little Priest & Hot Pies!” from the film “Sweeny Todd”.  Patrick Detloff and Emily Gill were the two main characters in “A Little Priest,” while the rest of the cast joined in song on “Hot Pies!”  Detloff had an incredible voice, one that I could definitely see on Broadway one day.  Gill did an amazing job as well.  Her voice is angelic, and she knows how to hit the high notes in order to send a chill down your spine. Detloff and Gill were a great duo in both songs, and they had an ideal chemistry.

An actor that threw off the audience (but in a funny way) was sophomore Jonathon Cobrda.  In the first song, “Pack up Your Sins and Go to the Devil,” he was energetic, and upbeat.  In the following song, “Makin’ Whoopee,” he came out as a woman.  Not just any woman, an overly enthusiastic woman, who had some insane facial expressions.  The audience found themselves laughing hysterically for the entire song.  Of course in my opinion, it took focus away from the other actors and actresses, but maybe that was the direction the director wanted it to go.

Some other actresses I would like to give kudos to were Casey Weems and Lindsey Cline.  Weems performed “I Wanna be Bad,” and knocked it out of the park.  Her voice was incredible!  Plus the dance routine for the song was perfect.  Cline performed “I want it Now” from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.  She too did a great job.  The only thing I noticed immediately was the shaking of her hands, which I will assume was from nerves.  But her transition from being a happy little girl, then turning into a greedy little snot (i.e. – Veruca Salt), then back again was great, and very believable.

There were several actors and actresses that could have improved a little more.  Maybe it was nerves, or maybe it was their first show.  Regardless, it had me, as well as the rest of the audience entertained.

The production was made possible by a grant from the Kurt Weill’s Foundation in New York. 

“We were selected because of our high reputation of talented students and past performance history.  This is a great honor for the program and means that we are even being noticed in New York, the home of Broadway,” said Bradley Martin, director of the program in musical theatre.