Staff Writer Jake Torres attended CMTS’ 24 Hour Musical: A Very Potter Musical on Sunday, March 27th at 11 am in the Lerner Party Space and it was just as fun and hectic as one would expect!
Every year, the 24 Hour Musical is a musical organized by the Columbia Musical Theater Society where students put together a full musical in only 24 hours. This means they are cast, rehearse, plan and organize everything within the 24 hour period before their sole performance.
This year’s musical, A Very Potter Musical by StarKid Productions, was a parody of the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. Before attending, I had not known what the musical they were performing was, but I was super excited when I arrived and saw the Welcome to Hogwarts written on a couple white boards and I knew I was gonna be in for quite a ride.
The show began as the audience was greeted by Harry (Antonio Antonelli) and his friends, Ron and Hermione (Adelina Correa CC ’23 and Maya Weed CC ’22). Soon they bursted out into song with “Goin’ back to Hogwarts” where the audience was introduced to all the other students at Hogwarts as they started their second year.
A key standout scene during the musical was the Quirrell and Voldemort Duet featuring Nick Porsborg CC ’22 and Russell Graviet CC ’23 as the respective characters. In the musical, Voldemort had attached his soul to Professor Quirrell causing them to share the same body with Voldemort living on Quirrell’s back. Quirrell and Voldemort had to make a couple of compromises to live with each other. This resulted in the two breaking into one of the most beautiful duets I have heard about their odd relationship and what they will do once Voldemort accomplishes his plan to take over the world.
Throughout the musical, Harry was not shy to show his skills with the guitar. He came up with a song to try to capture Cho Chang’s (Masha Sokolova CC ’24) heart but Ginny (Ashlinn Kivlighn CC ’24) started to fall in love with him when he asked her if she thought it would be good for Cho. During the house cup, Harry had to fight a fearsome dragon played by Emily McKiernan BC ’23 and he was only able to survive due to his guitar skills. On the fly he came up with a song to serenade the dragon – which was very convincing – and survive the first round of the house cup.
During the Yule Ball, Ron and Draco (Erin Hilgartner CC ’22) sing a duet about them both unexpectedly falling in love with Hermoine. The full ensemble was on stage during this scene, so it was filled with a lot of funny and random background moments. The Yule Ball led to the climax after Harry fought with Cedric Diggery (Wesley Schmidt CC ’22) so he could dance with Cho. Harry grabbed onto a ladle while he and Cedric were fighting to give Cho a drink when they got teleported away to a graveyard where Professor Quirrell tragically killed Cedric and revived Voldemort. Harry was eventually able to stop Voldemort and save the day once again.
Unfortunately, towards the end it seemed like they were running low on time that they had the space. The actors were able to overcome this challenge by adapting and speedrunning the ending. There were points where it seemed like the actors were confused as to what to do next but it added more to the fun and chaotic atmosphere of the musical, especially when they returned to singing the “Goin back to Hogwarts” song.
Something consistently great about the musical was the music. The musicians were at the top of their game throughout the entire performance, always capturing the mood perfectly and if something came up with actors forgetting lines or a hiccup in the order they went along with it and adapted quickly.
Another thing that really impressed me was the choreography, especially when there was a lot happening on the stage during the first and last sequences. Everyone on stage was adding something to the scene while singing, such as flipping through a binder or talking with other students. The choreography in tandem with the creative direction by Eliza Staples made for some amazing and hilarious scenes! The portrayal of the dragon was one of the best crafted parts of the musical with actors waving their arms in sync and dancing together to represent it flying and moving around which created an unrivaled menacing aura and suspenseful feeling.
Every actor played their part amazingly considering the time they had to prepare but Antonelli’s portrayal of Harry combined with his shockingly strong resemblance to Daniel Radcliffe was a clear standout. Graviet and Porsborg beautifully portrayed the dynamic between Voldemort and Professor Quirrell, bringing tears to my eyes as they sang together. As the play went on, they really got their shuffling together on point and were zooming across the stage together.
Hilgartner’s dramatic representation of Draco Malfoy was perfect and had everyone laughing throughout the course of the musical while Vincent Snyder CC ’24 really created and embodied the evil aura that Professor Snape created in the movies and always stole the scenes when he snapped at Harry. Tommy Doyle GS ’22 created the perfect laid back and carefree Dumbledore that we definitely needed to see more of in the actual Harry Potter series and Schmidt’s Hufflepuff remarks as Cedric got me every time and his eventual death made my heart skip a beat.
DIRECTING REVIEW Eliza Staples BC ’23
I really enjoyed the Columbia Musical Theater Society’s take on A Very Potter Musical. The musical itself is hilarious and witty and rehearsing in the 24 hours beforehand made the performance truly unique. The fact they were able to choreograph around 40 people in that time period is an achievement on its own. All of the cast was able to take each character and make it their own and I cannot wait to see what musical they produce next year.
madness via Jake Torres