Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: City Springs' Senior/Elite Pre-Pro Showcase Proves a Phenomenal Afternoon of Musical Theatre

The teen performance was more a professional cabaret than recital.

Review: City Springs' Senior/Elite Pre-Pro Showcase Proves a Phenomenal Afternoon of Musical Theatre

I attended the City Springs Theatre Conservatory's Pre-Pro 2022 Senior/Elite Company Showcase this weekend with every intention of keeping my "supportive friend" hat on, and none of writing a review. But when that showcase was over, I found myself wanting to shout from the rooftops how delightful it was.

In form, it was essentially like a triple-threat musical theatre recital. The teens in the highest pre-professional (Pre-Pro) companies, Senior and Elite, performed a selection of musical numbers for parents, grandparents, and various adoring loved ones. As the name would suggest, it was a showcase for students and their families to revel in the year that was and for City Springs to prove why they're a worthwhile institution for families to send their students to.

Under the direction of Broadway veterans and CST Conservatory instructors Kristine Reese and Billy Harrigan Tighe, the students performed enough show tune titles to fill a couple Golden Age musicals or one HAMILTON. It looked like we'd be there for hours. But the showcase was medley-style, with Reese and Tighe choosing considerably abridged versions of each song for a fast-paced, engaging show.

With or without a near and dear student in the cast, the showcase provided an exceedingly rich afternoon of musical theatre. It consisted of a few themed medleys, with Broadway songs ranging vastly in genre, era, and even popularity. Yes, there were HAMILTON songs. But there were also GRAND HOTEL, SWEET CHARITY, and RAGTIME tunes.

Knowing that Reese and Tighe were both in PIPPIN - Reese on the Broadway tour, Tighe on Broadway - made the PIPPIN numbers exciting to watch as I wondered which pieces of choreography might have been plucked from the Broadway revival. Speaking with Tighe afterward, he told me that's exactly what they did for both the PIPPIN songs and a FINDING NEVERLAND number (he had led the FINDING NEVERLAND tour with Reese as Mary Barrie).

The rest of the choreography utilized the large number of students in bold ways without making the stage seem crowded. Much of it felt quite Fosse-inspired, complete with shoulder rolls, girls dancing on and around chairs (think tame "Mein Herr" vibes), as well as iconic choreography from "Steam Heat" (impressively and meticulously danced by Mary Catherine Abowd, Lukas DeLancey, and Drew Barber).

For a full list of truly standout performers, you could just look up the soloists credited in the playbill. It's typical for a showcase like this to feature a mix of vocal talent from pretty bad to truly awesome. In this case, all of the soloists were in the truly awesome category. But for a voice crack or two to remind us they were teenagers, one could scarcely hear a difference between these students and local professionals. As a musical theatre fan who loves a good evening of show tunes, I sat there marveling at the fact that I was able to watch this hidden gem at all, let alone for such a cheap price.

The only glaring missed opportunity was that "If I Were a Rich Man" did not appear in the "Money Medley" alongside MAMMA MIA's "Money, Money, Money" (featuring Elise Friderich), CABARET's "Money" (featuring Alex Lopez), and more tender-related staples of the Broadway canon.

Besides the excellent craftsmanship, it was significant to me to see Reese and Tighe's obvious passion for pouring into and celebrating these young people. One of the best examples of this was in, "I Hope I Get It" from A CHORUS LINE. This number featured the students who had been cast as ensemble (and one in the main cast*) in City Springs Theatre Company's main stage production of A CHORUS LINE in March.

The teens had practically made a cameo in the show - uncredited in the playbill and "cut" at the end of "I Hope I Get It." Nevertheless, getting an adult professional credit at such a young age was a huge accomplishment. And in the showcase moment, they were recognized as stars. Many in the audience seemed to catch on to the nod to the students' professional debut and cheered like crazy as they step-kick-kick-leap-kick-touched their hearts out. I didn't need more convincing that this conservatory prioritizes more than just putting on a fantastic show.

*Lukas DeLancey played Mark, one of the members of "the line," and was credited in the playbill.

For more information about City Springs Theatre Conservatory, visit https://www.cityspringstheatre.com/education/.

Review: City Springs' Senior/Elite Pre-Pro Showcase Proves a Phenomenal Afternoon of Musical Theatre
Inside the playbill for City Springs Theatre Conservatory's Pre-Pro Senior/Elite Company Showcase
Review: City Springs' Senior/Elite Pre-Pro Showcase Proves a Phenomenal Afternoon of Musical Theatre
Inside the playbill for City Springs Theatre Conservatory's Pre-Pro Senior/Elite Company Showcase

Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid theatre goer in Atlanta? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.




Related Articles View More Atlanta Stories


From This Author - Sally Henry Fuller