This weekend, Arts Editor Riva Weinstein sacrificed her sleep, sanity and occasional safety to participate in CMTS’ 24 hour musical. Actors were handed scripts and given 24 hours to learn blocking, choreography and music before the show went up at Lerner Black Box.

“Everyone was simultaneously delightfully glassy-eyed and manically energetic.”

6:00 P.M.

  • Arrived in Lerner.
  • Have managed to get sick on the single day of the year when it would present the greatest inconvenience.
  • Café East guy took pity on me and put some ice in my coffee. (Hot coffee for under-50 temperatures? I don’t know her.)
  • Due to copyright issues, director Maggie Vliestra (BC ’20) informs me I cannot say the name of the show in my article. Will henceforth refer to it as “Double Boiler! The Musical.”

7:00 P.M.

  • Singing about the most interesting state in the US.
  • I have nothing specifically against Iowa, it just scares me as a concept.

8:00 P.M.

  • Doing 50’s musicals is really just about cutting as much sexist and racist content as possible and grimacing at whatever’s too plot-relevant to cut.
  • Friend has brought a bagel slicer. Insists on calling it the “bagel guillotine.”

9:00 P.M.

  • Making mezzos choose between alto and soprano is institutional discrimination. >:(
  • “I just can’t stop hyperfixating on that Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”

10:00 P.M.

  • Lerner is closing; forced to relocate to John Jay lounge.
  • Slipped and fell on icy ground while walking from Lerner to John Jay, singing “Do You Hear The People Sing.” Represents my commitment to die for my ideals (musical theater).

11:00 P.M.

  • “If we were doing Les Mis, we could use the bagel guillotine and say we’re going to the bagel-cade.

12:00 A.M.

  • We have changed a firecracker plot device to a water gun, allowing an actor to scream “WHO SQUIRTED?” onstage.
  • There is not a person in this room over 12 years old.

1:00 A.M.

  • Tiredness creeps upon me gradually, like the subtle night encroaches on the dusk.
  • Have held a mini-dance party to ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)”.

2:00 A.M.

  • Fell out of a chair for the art.

“Can we do a musical in 24 hours without any sleep? Well, that’s how we usually turn in our term papers, isn’t it?”

3:00 A.M.

  • I have no words to describe the number we just choreographed.
  • Actually, I have two words: kick line.

4:00 A.M.

  • HHHHHNNHHmgng Brain not woking

5:00-7:00 A.M.

  • (sleep break)

8:00 A.M.

  • Attempting to locate the bagels.
  • If we don’t find the bagels I may cry.

9:00 A.M.

  • Someone stole our bagels.
  • Have bought new bagels.
  • Maggie: “Okay, guys, we lost some time due to the bagle debacle – the debagel, if you will – ”

10:00 A.M.

  • About to start our first stumble-through.
  • Approximately half our scenes are not blocked, and no one knows their lines.

Are we human? Or are we actor?

11:00 A.M.


12:00 A.M.

  • Turns out we are allowed to hold our scripts during performance. Feel much less worried about the main actors now.
  • Fell out of a chair for art again.

1:00 P.M.

  • Talmage Wise (CC ’18) singing “double boiler” in that specific voice is going to haunt my dreams.
  • Talmage Wise saying “MRS. [NAME REDACTED]?!” in that specific voice is also going to haunt my dreams.
  • Why has Talmage Wise been in every play I’ve seen at Columbia?
  • Riva’s Dreams (2018), dir. Maggie Vliestra, starring Talmage Wise.

2:00 P.M.

  • While getting ready in the dressing room, made the mistake of commenting on the Alexander Hamilton-print socks my mom gave me.
  • Pro tip: do not mention Alexander Hamilton in a room full of musical theater kids.
  • Am so tired I’m starting to hear colors.

3:00 P.M.

  • Almost cried when the marching band rehearsed their entrance at the end of the show. Mingled joy and exhaustion.

4:00 P.M.

  • Think a group of Columbia-educated performers can’t fuck up a number with precisely 2 choreographed dance moves? Think again!

Thank god for the marching band.

5:00 P.M.

  • Attempted to buy food at Pret and came up a few dollars short. Looked so pathetic with my dead eyes and streaming nose that the guy gave me my soup for free.
  • With a little luck, may be able to drop off the meal plan and spend the rest of the school year looking pathetic in front of food servers.

6:00 P.M.

  • House opens in 15!

Some highlights of the show:

  • Erin Hilgartner (CC ’21) playing air-horn sound effects every time Elizabeth Lee (BC ’18), who played her daughter, got insulted by the 10-year-old.
  • Erin making air horn sound effects with her mouth after insulting Elizabeth.
  • Mario Garcia (CC ’21) screaming “WHERE’S THE FUCKING BAND?!”
  • The costumes boomeranged from “1910s drag queen/anime princess fusion” to “college student who woke up with their shirt inside out” and right back to “Newsies Playboy bunny.”
  • Barbershop quartet drawing watches on their wrists and/or just writing the word “TIME.”
  • *sings* I don’t knoooow the woooords
  • The dance that involved me doing kicks on by back, allowing everyone to see my Marvel-print leggings under my costume (they’re the only light-colored pants I own, ok?)
  • A surprising amount of panicked improv considering we were all holding our scripts.
  • A wonderfully supportive audience and a good time had by all!