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Fred Stone Hosts Premiere of Student-Written Musical

Sophomoric: intellectually pretentious, overconfident, conceited, etc., but immature. “Sophomoric” pretty much sums up the personalities of the four main characters of the show The Sophomores. The musical, which was written by Jonathan Keebler ’11 and his friend Jamie Lee Jacobs, follows the story of two young men from different backgrounds who fall in love with each other and then face persecution from their fellow classmates.

The show has several intricate plotlines that unfold throughout the play. However, the production’s final runtime was nearly three hours. Toward the end, I found myself thinking, “Oh God, another song?” I know it is a musical, but it was still a lot of songs to sit through.

That being said, I also found myself making mental notes to go onto iTunes when I got back to my dorm to download some of the songs, but then remembered that this is a student-written production and therefore the soundtrack was not recorded. Amanda Leakey ’11 in particular had outstanding vocals as she lamented the fact that the boy she wanted was gay.

Keebler has been working on this play since his senior year of high school. His motivation was the lack of musicals centered on gay relationships. A rough draft of the musical was presented to the committee in charge of choosing the shows to be performed in the Fred Stone Theatre in early 2010. The script had undergone what Keebler described as “major changes.”

Leakey has been involved since the start of the work on the piece at Rollins, doing the stage readings for Keebler as each draft was created. As the only senior in the cast, she has thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to see new faces in the Theatre Arts department. “Getting to work with fresh talent in the department is nice,” she commented.

Her other favorite part of the show was getting to do a musical in the Fred, a rare occurrence as this is only the second time since the creation of the Second Stage Series. Since the Fred is predominantly for student use, it was only natural that The Sophomores be shown there. Tammi Miller ’13 stage managed the show and also appreciated the use of the Fred. “I love the fact that it’s student run, because it’s more laid back.”

The show is essentially the same tale that we have heard a thousand times before: two unlikely people fall in love, the stereotyped mean girl disapproves and therefore her group of static lackeys disapprove as well and the lonely girl who has no friends narrates the whole thing. Despite the lack of originality in regards to the plot, Leakey was quite charming and her voice made up for times where the rest of the show lacked.

Overall, the show was really not that bad, especially considering it is student-written and produced and the cast only rehearsed for a little over three weeks. Keebler’s goal was to present how difficult it is for teenagers who are struggling with their sexuality to find acceptance from others and from themselves, and he certainly achieved it. “They are incredibly foolish people… but there is a wisdom to their studpitiy… They are starting to understand how the world works, but they are still operating in a vain manner,” Keebler concluded about the characters he created. The show runs from Jan. 26 to Jan. 31 in the Fred Stone Theatre.

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