SBCC theatre department staged its prowess during virtual show


August Lawrence

Separated by plastic barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Shannon Saleh and Willie Simpson duet for the song “Mixtape” from the play “Avenue Q,” in the Lobero Theatre as apart of City College’s virtual revue “Looking Back, Looking Forward” on Saturday, Oct. 17.

August Lawrence, Arts & Entertainment Editor

City College’s theatre department returned to the Garvin Theatre for a virtual performance of the new original musical revue, “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” on Saturday, Oct. 17.

The performance showcased current student talent, highlighting popular songs from past performances.

After a semester of remote rehearsals and closed-down theaters, the passion and prowess the department is known for was definitely still visible.

“We love sharing these songs with you,” said host Tiffany Story.

On stage, performers stood apart and were separated by plastic barriers to ensure safety.

A disappointing performance in the show was Daniel Sabraw’s version of “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story.”

Sabraw’s vocal ability and control are at a professional level and something to admire, but his timing, emphasis and inflections made his delivery sound more like a boy-band member than a theatre performer.

Early on in the show, Hazel Brady’s delivery of “I Can’t Say No” from the play “Oklahoma” stood out from the other performances.

Brady was visibly relishing her performance, smiling uncontrollably after each chorus and dancing excitedly throughout to the song’s upbeat tempos.

Her joyous attitude was infectious through the screen and her over-the-top southern accent was hilarious.

The highlight of the night by far was Levi R. Smylie’s soulful rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening” from the play “South Pacific.”

Smylie’s voice was spellbinding, coming off as tender and soft yet powerful and encompassing all at the same time.

Smylie’s tone sounded straight out of crooner Bing Crosby’s backing band, and his stage presence was soulful and dignified.

One of the most heartfelt moments of the night was the song “Mixtape,” from the play “Avenue Q.”

Performers Shannon Saleh and Willie Simpson donned felt puppets over their hands, each doll dueting with each other about what it means when a boy gives a girl a mixtape. The singers didn’t miss a single beat and their puppet characters were colorful and funny to watch.

Backing the singers on keyboard was musical director David Potter.

Throughout the night Potter’s keyboard playing style and timing complimented the singers all perfectly, but the piano itself sounded out of tune and distracted from student performances.

The show culminated in a heart warming musical montage of pictures from past productions over a full company chorus of “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent.”

The soulful rendition was a reminder of a message of love and togetherness that we all need to hear right now. It was truly uplifting.

Theatre has become something basically non-existent due to the pandemic, but this show proved City College’s theatre department is still thriving and excelling in training vocalists and entertainers.

“Looking Back, Looking Forward” was a welcomed virtual night out at the Garvin Theater.

Correction: Performance was originally stated to be held from the Lobero Theatre; the performance was actually at City College’s Garvin Theatre