“The miracle of Campus Lights has happened again,” said Lane Northcutt, director of the 79th annual Campus Lights performance. This year’s musical was of “9 to 5.”
Northcutt said he has recieved nothing but positive feedback from the audience Jan. 23-25.One audience member with 42 years of Campus Lights experience thought the show was well done.
Claydean McCallon has been going to Campus Lights since 1973. It started as an outing with friends from her church and quickly became a tradition.
“There were 30 or 40 of us and we made it a night out,” McCallon said. “We would go out to dinner then we would go to the play. Since then, I’ve gone 13 years straight in a row.”
She took a break in 1983 after she got married and started back up again the year “Bye Bye Birdie” was performed.
McCallon said the shows get better every year, and this one in particular did not disappoint.
“I thought the lead characters were wonderful, and the costuming was better than usual,” McCallon said. “I was disappointed in the sound system, but that was beyond their control. If they had a bigger budget to do a little more with their sets and their sound system, it would have been better.”
Regardless of the sound system and financial shortcomings, Northcutt said the theater department made up for that in ticket sales.
He said they sold roughly 800 tickets during the three performance days.
“Campus Lights hit its ticket sales goal, which means we will be contributing a few thousand dollars to actual scholarships in 2015,” said Ryan Knight, Campus Lights chairman.
The show’s humor and quirky characters are possibly what drew such a large crowd this year.
Gabrielle Wibbenmeyer, who played Doralee Rhodes, said the dialogue made the cast laugh, even during the beginning of rehearsals.
“Even if we’re not acting it full out, during the read through we were all dying laughing,” Wibbenmeyer said. “It was hilarious. The comedy of the show in general was a really good time.”
Vocal director Paige Middleton said Molly Nimmo, who played the role of Missy Hart, sings tenor sometimes, and Middleton needed another guy in the all-guy song.
She said they bandaged her breasts to flatten her chest backstage, painted on some facial hair and sent her onstage.
As for Mr. Hart’s lift, played by Nathan Brown, Northcutt said the system they used to lift him was educational.
Murray State students built a steel frame for their welding project.
The Campus Lights crew attached a steel cable to Brown and fed it over the steel cage. The system was man-powered – there were crew members behind the frame pulling Brown up by his harness.
After three weeks of rehearsal and months of planning and preparation, the show finally came together.
McCallon, with 30-some years of shows to compare “9 to 5” to was pleased with it as well. The cast, crew and fellow audience members can count on her attendance for years to come, she said.
Story by Madison Wepfer, Assistant Features Editor