Oilers perfect the spring musical set to open on Feb. 17
By Kate Bauer
Directed by Vicki McClurkin, rehearsals for UF’s annual spring musical “Smile: The Musical” are in full swing. With rehearsals occurring for three hours each night, members of the cast, crew, and band are working diligently to perfect the show to ensure its readiness for opening night on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the John & Hester Powell Grimm Theater in the Frank J. Egner Center for the Performing Arts.
An article published on the UF Newsroom website by Joy Shaw describes the show’s synopsis. The musical tells the tale of the California Young American Miss Beauty Pageant, a fictional pageant. The show tells the humorous tale of main characters and pageant contestants Robin Gibson and Doria Hudson as they become friends and assist one another throughout pageant week.
The original musical was written and performed in 1986 and while many elements of the show have stayed the same, the setting has been moved to the present, including modern, pop culture references.
UF Theater Performance major Tabitha Kittle, cast as Maria Gonzales, said, “’Smile’ is so different from other musicals I’ve done because there are so many choral numbers. I have never done a show where the same 15 girls sing so much together and have so much stage time.”
Auditions for “Smile: The Musical” took place on Monday and Tuesday Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Sophomore education major Makenna Fox, cast as Sandra-Kay MacAffee, recalls the audition process.
“The audition process is great but also gets my nerves going,” said Fox. “Everyone is expected to come in with part of a song prepared, preferably a Broadway tune to sing in front of the directors.”
Fox added, “We have been working on this show since the day we came back from Christmas break. We do not get a whole lot of time but we work so hard and our time together flies by.”
While the musical includes a large number of student performers, directors cast faculty and staff into the show as well.
“The last couple of years we’ve needed older people. We’ve had some space, so we’ve invited faculty and staff, which has really been fun,” McClurkin said.
According to McClurkin, each rehearsal is three hours long. As it becomes closer to opening night, the director is working meticulously to ensure the show is the best it can be.
“I’ll work something that’s not working right, I’ll add something that I think is dead in one spot, [or if] something needs added,” said McClurkin.
The show runs from Feb. 17-21, and tickets can be purchased online or in person at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.
Art suggestion: Photograph of members of the cast rehearsing.