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Troubadour Shines in Opening at Degheri

posted Mar 25, 2011, 7:10 PM by Golden Knight

By Christian Romo

11/22/10

Photo Courtesy: Alex Pilmer

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Western Division of the Franciscan Order, the St. Francis Theatre Department opened the 2010-2011 season with a bang last Thursday with the Los Angeles premier of the musical “Troubadour”.

Originally done at a workshop on the campus of NYU, the musical, written by Bert Draesel and John Martin, made its west coast premiere befittingly on the campus of St. Francis High School. The play was a presentation of the life of Francis and the struggles he had to overcome while founding and maintaining the Order of Friars Minor in the little town of Assisi.

Students at St. Francis are required to study the life of Francis, most notably from freshman year Biblical Literature, but this play gave an entirely new aspect into his life. It introduced new characters and stories that went beyond the basic Franciscan education we are required to acquire. It gave new meaning to success as defined by Francis, pitted against the material will of his rival. As said in Leo’s (played by junior Nathan Baker) final monologue, “Francesco failed, yet still lives. Elias succeeded, and who remembers him?”

Senior Andrew Pilmer took on a difficult role in portraying the centerpiece of the show. He had to show a vocal and emotional range that changed as often as his costumes in the first act, but he took on the challenge with the heart of a lion and gave a stirring performance. Senior Nick Bruno’s portrayal of Elias gave the story its much needed conflict and his singing and projection was nothing less than spectacular. Theatre Arts teacher Michael Tucci spent much of class time last Friday lauding over the right-on performances of the two lead actors and even gave Andrew an unexpected moment of praise at a time when he could have been his harshest critic.

Junior Emma Camp was nearly flawless as Francis’s pseudo-love interest Claire. The lead female role was very untraditional in the sense that Claire served more as Francis’s guide than lover, yet Emma played the role convincingly and accordingly with a show-stopping, professional vocal range. Her song “An Unusual Normal” was well-received, especially by Sister Barberine who claimed the song as her favorite.

By far the most popular and lovable character was Francis’s protégé Junipero, played by sophomore Thomas Duffy. During rehearsal, like clockwork, the girls in the cast would stop whatever they were doing to watch Duffy perform “I Wonder”. He had the same effect during the production, though I heard some grown men say they had trouble fighting back tears during his solo performance.

It’s a very difficult thing to take on a fresh musical and make it work, much less a musical about a religious figure. What the St. Francis Theatre Department did was most certainly expected, but not any less outstanding. The producers, directors, cast, and crew of “Troubadour” made a musical about the life of Francis that everyone can enjoy.

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