Conservatory premieres unique performance with “City of Angels”

Sarah Beck, Staff Writer

Lights. Camera. Action. Shenandoah Conservatory premiered the musical “City of Angels” this past weekend at the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. With themes of life, truth, and entertainment, the musical was different than most, due to the show having film-noir style projections behind the actors.

The show brings together the real world of writer, Stine (Morgan McDowell) and an imaginary character in his story, Stone (Taylor Bloom). The audience gets a sense that Stine is writing about a version of his own life, because he and Stone have similar obstacles to face in their respective worlds. Stine is hoping to turn his novel into a screenplay for big movie producer and director Buddy Fidler (Chris Godshall), but Buddy isn’t completely devoted to the original ideas and wants to change it into a story not based on the book. This agitates Stine, but he eventually sticks it to the man, emerging victorious, and learning about what really matters at the typical “Hollywood ending.”

Photos courtesy of C. King Photography

“City of Angels” had several projections that looked very much like a classic 1940’s film.  The actors were on stage, being filmed, and live film played on a screen behind them throughout the duration of the musical. The visions of director, Jonathan Flom, were applied quite successfully; he was satisfied with the result.

“I learned that our students and faculty – myself included – have far more skills than we think we do. We have only to ask the question, ‘What if we…?’ and creativity opens up in infinite ways,” Flom said.

The majority of the film sequences displayed on-screen starred Taylor Bloom as Stone. “It’s been an incredibly rewarding and challengeable experience being on stage and on screen simultaneously,” Bloom later explained, “But that’s only one of the myriad of rewarding challenges presented with this show.”

For some at Shenandoah Conservatory, “City of Angels” was their last show. Flom, musical theatre program coordinator, and Thomas Albert, D.M.A, the show’s music director, collaborated artistic ideas for the final time with to create a performance that has left a mark on the Conservatory. Their combined contributions in their many years have changed the face of the department; they will be greatly missed.

“It was definitely bittersweet. This is one to go out with a bang,” Flom said of his final show.

The Conservatory students and faculty put together a memorable and successful performance for all, full of pizzazz, comedy, and romance.

“The book and the music are so brilliantly written that I hope we do them justice and allow the brilliance of their creation to shine throughout their own performance,” Bloom said.

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