Hey! Since I feel bad that this week’s entry (and the Podcast episode itself) went out really late, I’ve decided to write a surprise entry! That’s not the only reason why I’m doing this, though- I also wanted to share with you a fantastic experience I had yesterday at the York Theatre, where I am an intern.
Cheer Wars, baby. CHEER WARS.
What the heck is “Cheer Wars,” you ask? Long story short, it’s a musical dark comedy that was part of the York Theatre’s Developmental Reading Series. The point of the Series is to advance the process of some new musical work through a semi-staged, book-in-hand, open-to-the-public production. (Wow, that was a lot of hyphens.) In this case, the piece centered on two feuding cheerleader moms, their daughters, and the lengths to which they’ll go to protect their cheer cred. This sounds like a crazy premise for a play- BUT IT WORKED!
As I told one of the actors after the performance, “This was not just a show; it was an experience!” As the two rival mothers, Broadway veteran Mary Testa and TV star Sally Struthers were just incredible to watch. These women are juggernauts on their own- but put them together and the sparks are gonna start flying! Also in the cast was Annie Golden as a voice of reason amid the chaos; she was an audience favorite. Perhaps my favorite moment was the big company number “CHARMAIN,” in which the girls (and one extremely lovable guy, played by Robb Sapp) celebrate the new kid on the squad. As the titular cheerleader, Alyse Alan Louis was kick-butt. I’ve STILL got that freaking song stuck in my head.
Swell performances from the rest of the cast and a frothy score by Karlan Judd and Gordon Leary added to the sheer fun of it all- but what tied everything together was a KILLER plot twist at the beginning of the second act and a strangely touching finale that actually made me cry a little. So yes- during my afternoon that was Cheer Wars, I laughed and cried and applauded: all things that good theatre should make you do.