Pauper Players’ ‘The Wild Party’ promises raunchy fun

Orgy scenes are seldom included in musicals, but “The Wild Party” is not the typical musical.

The Pauper Players’ fall main-stage production, Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party,” opens at 8 p.m. tonight in the Union Cabaret and runs through Nov. 3.

The musical is an adaptation of Joseph Moncure March’s epic poem of the same name.

“The Wild Party” is about the relationship between a vaudeville dancer, Queenie, and her clown boyfriend, Burrs.

“They get bored with their relationship, so Queenie throws a party to end all parties to try to spice things up,” said Aaron Salley, publicity administrator for Pauper Players. “They invite all sorts of unsavory characters.”

During the party Queenie tries to make Burrs jealous, and eventually a large fight breaks out.

“It has drugs, lots of alcohol and a giant orgy scene at the end,” said Jenna Whetzel, who stars as Delores, a guest at the party. “Lots of cast members take their clothes off.”

The musical has several adult themes, including sexual infidelity and vices.

“It’s about the pursuit of happiness and what you’re willing to do to get it. It’s about what happens when you go too far,” director Nick Culp said.

The music of “The Wild Party” departs from the genres typically associated with musicals.

“It’s like a classier version of what you’d see at a strip joint. The song for the orgy scene is called ‘Come with Me,’” Whetzel said.

A live orchestra will accompany the performance.

“It captures the 1920s big band and jazz sounds and the late 1990s rock sound. It’s a better way to connect with the music while still giving the impression you’re in the 1920s,” Salley said.

The cast has been polishing their performance in rehearsals, which have lasted as long as seven hours.

“They’ve been great. The cast is hardworking, and I have an excellent crew,” Culp said.

This show pairs the traditional musical elements with serious themes that people do not usually associate with musicals.

“This is not a family musical,” Whetzel said. “It’s for an audience looking to have fun.”



Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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