’Heaven’: friendship written in the stars

This coming weekend, a show bustling with energy, creativity, warmth and emotion will open in Goodrich’s Payne Hall. “Thank Heaven…A Musical Revue” is the first production of Blythe Spirit Productions, a new campus independent theater group. The revue of 17 Broadway tunes, pulled from “Gershwin to Sondheim, tracks the lives of three women as they grow from girlhood dreams through young adult romances to realize that their mutual friendship is their most valuable treasure,” according to the production’s website, which can be found at wso.williams.edu/~jlott. “Thank Heaven” will be performed April 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. in Goodrich; the show runs approximately an hour, and admission is free.

“Thank Heaven” was conceived by Elizabeth Healy ’02, Danni Lapin ’03 and Meg Inners ’04, who also collectively direct and perform all the roles in the show. Joseph Lott ’03 provides technical support and production management. According to Healy, “my parents have generously provided the financial support for this show and Meg, Danni, Joe and I have worked together to make it happen.”

Healy recounts the genesis of the musical revue’s concept: “It is so hard to find people who have time to work on plays. So I thought about pieces I could work on that were smaller. I asked Danni Lapin if she wanted to do a show. Danni, Meg and I worked together last year on ‘Closer Than Ever,’ another musical revue.”

“Danni and I decided we’d be best off limiting the scope to a musical revue and the cast to just a few people,” Healy said. “There are fewer singing men on this campus than women, and with this in mind, we decided we could do a revue that was all female. We asked Meg if she’d like to join us. She did and so we set to work creating a show that suited our interests and our voices. We wanted it to emphasize a lot of different aspects of each of us, as women, as friends and as people. We hope our audience will be able to identify with the songs we’re singing and the way we’re feeling in the revue.”

The revue is constructed chronologically, and the songs are dramaturgically linked by the relationships of the three female characters. “This show tells the story of three friends from adolescence to adulthood, during their exploration of life, love and friendship,” Lapin explained. Healy added that “the characters we portray are roughly autobiographical, but the plot is not.”

“I find that music speaks to me on a much deeper level than just words,” Healy continued. “Singing is something I’ve focused on less in college than in high school. It was definitely time to get back to [it].”

“Making ‘Thank Heaven…’ has been like a dream come true,” said Lapin. “How often does a person get to pick their favorite songs and then perform them with two of their best friends?”

Each singer presents her vocal talents and character through impressive solos, as Healy does in “Stars and the Moon,” Inners in “Someone to Watch Over Me” and Lapin in “Almost Like Being in Love.” The three sing together in other numbers, such as the hilarious “I Hate Men” and the rousing opener “Hello 12, Hello 13, Hello Love.” Accounting for their enthusiasm going into this project, Inners explained, “revues are great because you get to use only the very best songs from shows and leave all the mediocre songs out.”

“This show is special because the staging and plotline are so simple,” Inners said. “It relies only on fun renditions of great Broadway songs, a lot of energy and classic musical theater kitsch.” She is right, and “Thank Heaven” is an event not to be missed.