World Premiere Musical Packs a "POW!" on its way to London's West End

By: Jun. 02, 2023

SuperYou blasts through the Skylight Music Theatre with colossal energy, Broadway-caliber talent, and an unabashed message that unleashing your inner superhero means learning to love yourself. With book, music, and lyrics by Lourds Lane, this production of SuperYou is a world premiere developmental presentation. 

That means this show is still on a journey through its creative process. Yet it has already played a concert at Carnegie Hall and is bound for London’s West End. The women-led creative team even staged a socially-distanced show on the backs of pickup trucks during the pandemic. Now, SuperYou boasts over 22 million views on TikTok -- a verified viral sensation.

The story of SuperYou follows Katie White, a comic book writer whose superheroine creations help her on her way to overcoming grief, finding self love, and embracing the power of her own voice. JoAnn M Hunter, the show’s Director and Choreographer says, “While the production may grow in scope and scale, our goal at Skylight has been to get to the heart of the story.”

It’s mighty incredible to see a show with such big voices and exceptional choreography in a space as intimate as the Skylight’s Cabot Theatre. The cast and creativity here are a next-level treat, and the extraordinary performances are reason enough to check out SuperYou.

As Katie White, Kennedy Caughell totally stuns -- not into silence, but into a roar of audience applause and spontaneous whoops that won’t be contained. Her voice is just plain beautiful, soulful, and totally stellar. Power ballad “Fragmented” especially highlights Caughell’s vocal gymnastics. Young Katie is played by Serena Parrish, a first-year at the Institute of American Musical Theater. She’s also remarkable in voice and poise. Both Parrish and Caughell impress with the equal ease with which they tackle the fast-paced choreography (read: dance battles). 

If I were to really dig into each and every fantastic performance from this cast, I’d be a broken record. Suffice it to say the four powerhouse heroines (Shelby Griswold, Wren Rivera, Jenna Rubaii, and B Noel Thomas) slay styles from country to punk rock. They even make a yodeling interlude sound super cool. Then there are the guys, Christopher K. Oram as Matty and Justin Matthew Sargent as Jay, who nicely match the ladies in range. Oram has particularly adorable rapport with Parrish’s Young Katie. 

The aforementioned choreo is a standout, but especially for dance soloist and Milwaukee native Melissa Anderson as Katie’s Mom. Anderson “speaks” nearly entirely through movement and dance that’s intensely emotive and gorgeous in her grace. Blake Zelesnikar, agile and acrobatic, also exclusively dances as the shadowy villain Mi Roar. This quietly captivating use of movement nicely balances the show’s roof-raising sounds. 

Visually, scenic design by Ann Louizos, lighting by Jamie Roderick, costumes by Cynthia Nordstrom, and video by Patrick W. Lord all prove as eye-popping as the songs and vocals are booming. The use of towering screens is particularly effective to showcase Katie’s artistic sketches, often supporting the action with a “POW!” and a “BAM!” The colors throughout the costumes and lighting are sharp and saturated, like the pages of a comic book. Together, it all works. 

What also works is how the show’s central message clearly speaks to diverse audiences. While one may see the moral of the story coming from a mile away, that moral is a valuable one. So often, we are our own worst enemies. But when we do what we love, celebrate our truths, zero in on our unique passions, and embrace our whole selves -- that’s something super human. It’s a fitting message for Pride Month, but also for anyone who feels stuck trying to conform or fit into someone else’s perfect box. SuperYou is an invitation to find the power in being the boldest version of yourself. 

Catch Click Here at Skylight Music Theatre through June 18, 2023. 

Photo Credit: Mark Frohn


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From This Author - Kelsey Lawler

  Kelsey Lawler is a copywriter by day and zealot for local theater by night. She earned her BA in Writing Intensive English from Marquette University in 2009, and has been working as an editor, ... Kelsey Lawler">(read more about this author)


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