Kait Kerrigan came to Columbia to collaborate with courageous cantors in our college. Our creative contributor, Kyra Bloom, chronicles the crazy carousel:
Yesterday in the Broadway Sky Lounge, one half of the musical theatre songwriting team Kerrigan & Lowdermilk worked with the cast of CMTS’s “Party Worth Crashing”. Kait Kerrigan is a Barnard alum herself (2003) and wrote some of her first songs in the Plimpton basement. The team’s songs are fairly widely known for such young artists; even students in my depressing Florida high school Thespian competitions performed their most popular pieces to death. Despite reminding me of that unfortunate part of my life, the songs are entertaining and catchy.
“Party Worth Crashing” is not a formal show; it’s a song cycle director Jeremy Stern, CC ’15, and producer Alex Ley, BC ’13, created out of Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s songs. Each of the 11 cast members is featured in either a solo or duet, with a few group numbers interspersed. Stern’s vision outlines the story of a group of twenty-somethings centering around Lina Smorra’s (BC ’16) heart-wrenching return to her childhood home. Each character has a different kind of travel bag, symbolizing their individual journeys through life. I promise it’s not as cheesy as it sounds.
We began the workshop by introducing ourselves and our roles in the production. Kait gave feedback on each of the featured songs, working through each actor’s specific issues. Her workshop style is casual and intimate, and she thought of creative ways to make each student feel more comfortable with their lyrics (that she wrote). She easily fit in with the group and seemed comfortable joking around with the cast.
Ten years out of Morningside, Kait doesn’t look much older than the rest of us. For aspiring college artists, hearing from someone in her point of life is informative and interesting, though a little frightening. Her biggest pro-tip: the first year after college will suck. During her time at Barnard, Kait was a self-proclaimed nerdy English major. She still raves about her time in Professor Jennie Kassanoff’s class of American Studies fame. Kait also produced one of her first plays through Columbia’s Latenite Theatre. I refrained from asking whether her script was butchered by alcoholic influence for the last performance.
We often have distinguished alumni come back and visit campus, but few are as approachable and enjoyable to talk to as Ms. Kerrigan. She alludes to Sondheim and disses Spiderman the Musical just as every theatre geek should. Her advice was relevant and actually worth listening to. We wish her luck on her future projects and hope she’ll come back to campus to see our performance.
“Party Worth Crashing” runs March 7th through 9th in the Lerner Black Box. Tickets will be available for purchase at the TIC soon.