Pauper Players combine Broadway, comedy

Broadway is coming to UNC.

As the first show of the new year for student musical group Pauper Players, “Broadway Melodies 2011” will also function as the company’s last in the Union Cabaret.

“Broadway Melodies 2011” will feature three student-written short musicals, each focusing on a piece of pop culture.

The three sets will incorporate established Broadway compositions with lyrics adapted to the subject material. Quentin Tarantino, “Glee” and “Mean Girls” will all be parodied in the production.

“The musical selection is definitely skewed toward shows with which I’m familiar,” said Wendy Hua, writer and director of “Mean Girls: The Musical.”

“Sometimes you end up toying with the same line of lyrics for a while to find the perfect words to substitute,” Hua said.

Ben Boecker, executive production director for Pauper, said the show — which runs Feb. 4 through Feb. 8 — is not as big a production as the company’s main performances.

“With this show, we’re not really going for the flash and bang of our other productions,” he said. “It’s a comedy show, and it’s really funny. We don’t need to spice it up.”

“Broadway Melodies 2011” will end its run as the Cabaret closes for renovations. This leaves Pauper’s spring production of “All Shook Up” without a home.

During their 21 years on campus, Pauper has usually performed in the Playmakers Theatre.

The company was forced to move its performances to the Union Cabaret when the Playmakers Theatre closed four years ago.

Renovations to the space were planned, but budget constraints prevented the building from reopening until this November.

With the Cabaret’s imminent closure due to planned renovations to the Union, the company faces a challenge in finding space for its future performances.

“The cost of Historic Playmakers has increased significantly since its renovation,” said Elissa Rumer, executive business director for Pauper Players. “It’s just out of our price range.”

Boecker said some possible locations include the ArtsCenter in Carrboro and Gerrard Hall at the University.

Olivia Myrick, executive director of publicity for the company, said they are looking for grants to help expand the groups popularity.

“Our goal is to seek out grants from within the UNC community so that we can give the resources directly back to the University as we look toward new performance venues,” she said.

In lieu of finding a new location, Pauper hopes their audience will grow throughout the rest of the season.

“There’s so much talent in the UNC arts community,” Myrick said.

“It’s so vibrant, and people should tap into it more.”

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