'Melodies' an act of harmony

When he's not scourging the Shire and buying real estate in Mordor, Sauron the Dark Lord runs around in a Batman mask and sings Disney duets with other members of the "Lord of the Rings" cast. Or so Pauper Players would have audiences believe. The company presented "Broadway Melodies '06," a three-hour variety show fundraiser for its spring musical, on Saturday. The show integrated famous Broadway tunes into cohesive narratives in four sets. In the T.GI.F. set Cory and Topanga from ABC's "Boy Meets World" sang a duet of "Take Me as I Am" from the Broadway musical "Jekyll and Hyde." Sauron and cronies surprised the crowd during the "Lord of the Rings" set with a rendition of "Be Prepared" from "The Lion King." And as incongruous as it sounds, the Disney hit meshed well with the story. Speaking of dark lords and smaller-than-life heroes, "The Fellowship of the Ring: The Musical" was the crowd favorite. The players' take on Tolkien's epic surpassed expectations. The skillful satire and line-by-line laughs in senior writer and director William Jones' script had the crowd roaring in minutes. Gimli and Legolas bickered like little children and the twitchy Pippin had more energy than a six-pack of Red Bull. Writer and director Lori Mannette's set, "Into the Globe," also won over the crowd. The sophomore said her high school voted her "Most Likely to Dig Up Shakespeare's Body and Marry It." Mannette's fascination with the Bard shined through her set, which mixed quotes and characters from a series of his plays. Mannette's version united Hamlet and Romeo, first as combatants (My fictitious female is hotter than your literary lady) and then as co-conspirators (Let's make wives of these Shakespearean vixens). The show's other set featured a concert with selections from "Phantom of the Opera" and "Miss Saigon," among others. All around the show was great, in spite of a lack of fireworks. Economy was the name of the game, with costumes and chairs serving as the main props. Luckily, the writing and acting were engaging enough to fill the gaps. The final showing is at 8 p.m. today in the Union Caberet. Contact the A&E Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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