Splinter’s Spring Bee: Latest Musical Wins Over Audience in Pope

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Members of the Splinter Group performed in the club's Spring show. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX COURRIDES)

By MORGAN STEWARD
Asst. Arts & Culture Editor

For one night and one night only, Fordham Lincoln Center’s Splinter Group performed their 2016 spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” With admission on a first-come, first-serve basis, the show had students buzzing as they gathered in Pope Auditorium on the night of March 11.

The Splinter Group is Fordham Lincoln Center’s newest musical theater club and is growing with each passing year. According to Danny Holmberg, Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’18 and member of the club’s executive board, the club got its start by staging cabarets a few years ago. Its first full-scale musical was put on in 2013. Holmberg, who portrayed Chip Tolentino, disclosed that the Splinter Group is “seeking to grow even further. [Anyone] could get involved [with the club] by auditioning for shows.” Students shouldn’t be afraid of fitting in—the club is “one big family,” according to Holmberg. “If you want to get involved, we will find a place for you.”  

Since its initial musical debut with “Into the Woods,” the group has performed two more full length musicals—“A Chorus Line” (2015) and its latest production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The club continues to perform smaller cabarets in the fall, while saving the larger musicals for the spring semester.

“Spelling Bee” is adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name. Written by Rachel Sheinkin, it features six quirky children who compete in the illustrious Putnam County spelling bee run by three equally eccentric adults. The musical debuted in 2005 to rave reviews, earning six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The production had a successful three-year run,  closing in Jan. 2008 after 1,136 performances.

Emma Copp, FCLC ‘17, who played Logainne in the performance, explained that the Splinter Group only had about one month to cast, plan and rehearse the musical. “The process was hectic, but also incredibly fun,” she said. “We each [had to] work independently on solo songs, harmonies and lines.” The group would have rehearsals five days a week, either individually or as a group.

Despite their manic schedules and difficulty finding a practice space, the musical was a hit with the audience, generating lots of laughs. Kara Hogan, FCLC ‘19, raved about the show. “Everyone did such a great job,” she said, “it was fantastic!” Copp was also very happy with the way the musical turned out. “I am so proud of how the show came together! I think we made the best of our one shot, and I wouldn’t change a thing that happened onstage last night.”

The musical referenced many mature themes for its elementary setting, creating social commentaries on many of the issues that continue to plague current adolescents. The musical touched on the intense pressure young kids of the modern era face, what it’s like growing up with negligent parents, the struggles of teenagers exploring their sexuality and what it’s like growing up with same-sex parents.

To the surprise of the spectators, four additional competitors were chosen from the audience at random at the beginning of the show to compete alongside the cast members. Among them was Nick Endo, FCLC ‘16, who got into his character and danced along with the cast, bidding other competitors farewell as they were eliminated from the competition.

Overall, the show was a success, with the Splinter Group  promising to deliver great performances in the school years to come.

For more information on meeting times and dates, contact the co-presidents Christina Mastrangelo at [email protected] and Krista Febles at [email protected].