75th annual Campus Lights production well underway

Allyson Putman
Staff writer

January 2012 is a milestone for Campus Lights, the longest running student produced and performed musical in the South. The producers are near the end of casting the roles for the big show as auditions continue tonight.

Campus Lights is a musical production hosted each spring by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.

This year is expected to be even bigger for the production, as it marks the 75th anniversary of Campus Lights. To celebrate this milestone, the production team chose an epic and memorable show – “Titanic: A New Musical.”

Barry Sharp, senior from Shelbyville, Ky., is the instrumental conductor for the show. He said the board of producers has been planning this Campus Lights for a while to prepare for such an exciting milestone.

“We tried to find a show that is fitting,” Sharp said. “This is a historical year for that event and a historical event for our chapters.”

This April is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This production, however, will be much different than the James Cameron movie the public knows and loves.

“This is such a deeper connection to the actual event than the movie,” Sharp said. “All of the music is just great and it’s definitely epic.”

Cody Martin, senior from Mascoutah, Ill., is the vocal director this year. His duty is to conduct the vocal auditions.

The vocal auditions required participants to showcase a variety of skills. For a vocalist, Martin said he expected them to perform a monologue, 15 measures of any song (preferably a number from a musical) and choreography. They will also be tested on their vocal range.

Martin said it is important the artists are able to perform well in all categories.

“Anyone in the show is very actively involved,” he said. “Everyone will have lots of stage time.”

He said there are multiple storylines throughout the show, with no single part being the actual lead.

Leslie Parsons, senior from Mayfield, Ky., auditioned for the first time. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and has been a part of previous productions on campus. Parsons said she didn’t know what had kept her from auditioning before now.

“I think what really changed my mind was seeing “Beauty and the Beast” last year,” she said. “That was such a fantastic and well-done production, I knew I had to be involved with the next one.”

Planning for a production of this magnitude requires a great deal of work from the producers and performers. The production team for Campus Lights is already making arrangements for practices and rehearsals. Rehearsals for the entire cast begin next semester.

Because of the milestone, Martin and Sharp expect a much greater alumni turnout and are planning a reception before the performance in the Curris Center.

For those interested in participating in the show, final auditions will be held tonight from 8-11 p.m. in Fine Arts room 314.

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