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The Daily Tar Heel

Pauper Players’ ‘Broadway Melodies’ presents ‘carefree entertainment’

The Pauper Players’ “Broadway Melodies” opened Friday night.

Featuring classic Broadway tunes and pop-culture parodies, Sunday’s matinee of Pauper Players’ annual production “Broadway Melodies” was a high-energy, entertaining show.

Three small musicals — “The Kardashians: The Musical,” “Avatartanic” and “Pokemon: The Musical” — were written by and catered to students.

Each is cleverly hilarious.

The writers of the musicals utilized the melodies of Broadway, sampling from “Les Miserables,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Grease.”

But their original stories were based on what their target audience knew: Kim Kardashian’s divorce, Celine Dion’s influence on “Titanic,” the blue oddities of “Avatar” and the gaming story-line of “Pokemon.”

“Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid” became “In N.Y.C.,” sung by Kris Jenner — played by Rosalee Lewis — in “Kardashians,” convincing her daughters to audition for a Broadway show.

The unique lyrics were perfectly intertwined with the original songs.

Each story was a parody of its respective topic, making jokes about the Kardashian family dynamics and the cheesy romances in “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

The performers’ technical skills, though, were hit-or-miss.

George Barrett, playing both Reggie Bush in “Kardashians” and Jack Dawson in “Avatartanic,” was inaudible when accompanied by the piano or his fellow cast members.

But Alex Daly, who played Ash in “Pokemon,” was heard clearly as he filled the auditorium with spot-on notes as audience members clapped along with the music.

The acting was sometimes unrealistic, and the timing of dialogue was unnaturally off.

Brandon Lanning’s portrayal of James Cameron in “Avatartanic” had a line that epitomized the show’s spirit.

“Why would you come to a show called ‘Avatartanic’ if you expect us to follow the rules?”

The show didn’t care about seriousness — it cared about fun.

The cast stayed devoted to the story, embodying tackily passionate characters. The performers displayed obvious affection for the show.

It appeared the show’s only goal was the audience’s enjoyment — and judging by the standing ovation at curtain call, that goal was achieved.

“Broadway Melodies” is carefree entertainment that validates guilty pleasures. It’s better than reality television.

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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