‘Broadway’s Next Musical’ brings improv to Aiken stage
Not knowing a step, a line or a note for a show might be a performer’s worse nightmare. For the performers of “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical,” it’s just another night at the theater.
The touring show will be coming to URS Center for Performing Arts on March 14 and 15, with a band of showmen totally unrehearsed.
“Every lyric, every rhyme, every melody, every spoken word is made up on the spot,” said Deb Rabbai, co-producer, co-artistic director and cast member.
The show, brought to Aiken through the Aiken Performing Arts Group, will be held at 8 p.m. both days; tickets are $40 for general admission and $20 for students with valid student IDs.
Once Rabbai and five other performers – Robert Grant, Katie Hammond, Eric March, Annie Schiffmann and Rob Schiffman – take the stage, the performance is in your hands.
Audience members write down thought-up song titles on paper strips and put them a fish bowl. Then the first act opens to the Phony Awards.
“It’s kind of like the Tony awards; (it) honors the ‘brightest and best’ new songs from Broadway,” Rabbai said. “Each cast member presents a ‘nominated’ song, which is pulled from the fish bowl in front of the audience, and performs that song. This happens four times. Then the audience gets to vote on which song out of the four they liked the best. The cast then gets into costume and performs the entire musical including the song that was chosen. It’s pure magic.”
Rabbai lives for this living art.
“Improvisation to me is like breathing,” she said. “I love being able to say yes to anything that happens onstage with no fear of failure. … I love being able to stand on a stage with no preconceived notion of what the next 90 minutes will be in my life. I love the feeling of watching my partner onstage and being surprised, entertained and playing with them to create something fantastic and never before seen.”
Rabbai is a co-creator of the production. Rob Schiffman is Rabbai’s co-artistic director and co-producer. Other producers include Ralph Buckley and Greg Triggs.
Annie Schiffmann will be the emcee, the person to tie the whole show together onstage, as Christine Pynn, stage manager, works to tie everything together backstage.
Eric March will play on the piano to help this show along.
“We are very excited to bring our show to Aiken,” Rabbai said. “It’s always exciting for us to perform in a town that has never seen us before. It’s fun for us to see people’s reactions and tweak our humor and references to the audience that we are performing for. It’s keeps things fresh and new for us, which isn’t difficult since every show is new for us.”
And Cathy Traver, APAG art administrator, thinks that catering and freshness will be the very thing to attract local audiences.
“It’s got a broad appeal (and) will be fun for people of all ages,” she said. “It’s going to be fantastic.”
Tickets to the show can be bought at www.apagonline.org or by calling 648-1438.
URS Center is located at 126 Newberry St.
For more information on the show, visit www.broadwaysnexthitmusical.com.
Want to Go?
Aiken Performing Arts Group
“Broadway’s Next Hit Musical”
March 14 and 15 at 8 p.m.
$20 for students with valid student IDs; $40
Visit www.apagonline.org or www.broadwaysnexthitmusical.com or call 648-1438