On Thursday, May 3, 2012, I attended the world premiere of Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe's "Life of the Party" at LaGuardia High School. Directed by Paul Lincoln, "Life of the Party" is performed by the junior and senior class students of LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts.
"Life of the Party" is a new opera written especially for the students of La Guardia High School of Music and Arts. This show is set in the Soviet Union in 1953 is about a naive young Party apparatchik handed a suicidal mission: create a Communist movie musical to compete with the West and glorify Stalin. She tracks down her favorite director, now disgraced and laboring in the gulag, and he in turn hires the ex-wife who denounced him.
As much as I love attending Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, I truly enjoy the times I get to see a show at one of NY's colleges or universities or, in this case, one of NY's most famed high schools. The best part about attending these shows is the reminder that there is a new generation of performers being taught. Each of these students have a gift and it's great that their gifts are being nurtured by some of the most established professionals in the industry.
Nell and Laurence wrote a fun show with well placed throughout. My own personal experience with Nell and Laurence's music together is that of "Legally Blonde The Musical," so the opera infused music/songs were a nice change for me. What makes Nell and Laurence so talented is their capability to vary their writing style. I may not be a huge opera fan, but I am able to appreciate well written music and songs and Nell and Laurence scored with this new show.
This was my first introduction to Paul Lincoln's directing and I thought he did a great job. He had to work with a big cast, but everyone seemed to know exactly what they were there to do. I was also impressed with the production value of the show. To me, it was first rate! The students and everyone involved in this production of "Life of the Party" should be very proud of themselves!
With just a few performances left, "Life of the Party" runs through this Sunday, May 6 at LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts (100 Amersterdam Street at 65th Street)! Click here for tickets!