Biggie’s Got Talent
Last Saturday night, I had my first taste of an OBU stage production. I quite liked it, so I wrote a review which is detailed below. In an industry infested with talentless sell-outs and unoriginality, “Biggie’s Got Talent” more than triumphs with an awe inspiring-albeit flawed-performance.
“Biggie’s Got Talent”, as the name suggests, is a hybrid live-action and cinematic show in the style of the “X’s Got Talent” programs. Actors and musicians perform their crafts in a faux competition in hopes of advancing to an imaginary next round, with periodical reflections from a board of judges. A stage band follows each contestant’s act with a thrilling song.
The show starts with directors Josh Comfrey and Baylee Owen giving the audience a warm welcome. This is followed by the first of many prerecorded skits depicting the back stories behind the live performances. I am new to “Biggie”, and since I had no prior knowledge of the machinations of the event, the first few video skits confused me greatly. They lacked context, and while drawn-out exposition is certainly unnecessary, the skits should have been less esoteric.
The first act of the night is Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” by Syd and Rea. Syd and Rea harmonized beautifully in this haunting slow arrangement. While all of the night’s numbers were delightful, this subtle but powerful duet stood a head above the rest.
And here the judges insert themselves. All the judges themselves were likable, interesting, and funny, but the generic canned responses held them back from reaching their full potential.
Next was the stage band, a permanent onstage fixture consisting of a full band and three lead singers. The first, Sydney Matthews, sang “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. This was my personal highlight of the show. Matthews delivered an emotional and compelling performance that I can’t stop thinking about. The rest of the band showed energy and perfect synergy with the lead vocals. But one issue plagued the stage and throughout the entire night: poor sound mixing. Often the background track (marvelous as it was) overwhelmed the voices of the singers. Morgan Cherry, another lead for the stage band, didn’t let this happen to her. Cherry sang Demi Lovato’s “Happy for You” with such power and grace it rather spoiled the rest of the night for me. Her performance stirred the entire audience thoroughly, driving them to such a pitch of cheering and applause she might have been drowned out-if only she had a lesser voice. Marcellous Hawkins, the solitary male lead of the stage band, gave his stellar performances of Stevie Wonders’ “Superstitious” and Khalid’s “Location” with exciting flair and style. But while the onstage talent continued to impress, the audio issues only worsened.
The musical contestants consistently provided us with beautiful music, but despite the undeniable talent of the performer, the song selection and arrangements were far too safe. There were little risky or dangerous choices that could showcase the extent of the singers’ talents.
The skits consistently hit home with the audience, drawing laughs from every punch line. The Singing Bee, TV sketch, and faux talent show did especially well, due in large part to the genius creativity of the writing. The actors were invested in their roles and played them wholeheartedly, making the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
Morgan Cherry closed out “Biggie’s Got Talent” with Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day”, electrifying the room with her magnificent voice. The crowd held their phones in the air as the entire cast returned to the stage to bow.
As I swatted away balloons and scrawled out my notes, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the range of emotions I had been subjected to over the past two hours. The dancing nuns made me laugh. Graham, Lindsey, and Sydnie’s song stirred my soul. And by the reaction of the audience I know I’m not the only one who feels personally impacted by the artistry displayed that night.
What else can I say? Biggie really does have talent.