You might not have been aware of it, but this past weekend our Little Apple’s Art Center Acting Company participated in a really big project. When I say big, I mean a hearty band of our local troupers in the MAC’s Grosh Performance Hall joined over 2,500 other live stage groups across all fifty states and in forty-plus countries around the globe to present Music Theatre International’s medley/revue “All Together Now!”

By special arrangement with the composers, owners, and copyright holders of all the included material, MTI secured permission for its use and made available free of charge during this limited period by any ensemble anywhere in the world as a fundraiser to bolster both the funding and the morale of local dramatic organizations during these pandemic-stricken times. I hope you were able to turn out and show your support.

But see it or not, like it or not, its unique pick-a-lineup format does require a choice among two or three different musical numbers in each of fifteen different sequential slots, pretty much insuring that different productions of the show will indeed be distinctive in more than just the talents of their casts.

(Side note: given the multiple alternatives on offer, were show attendees to know of the full range of potential selections available to those electing which ones to use, it could well make for grumbling among the groundlings, so I’m sure most presenters will wisely avoid publishing the full list. MAC’s program, for instance, didn’t. Which won’t keep those curious to know what they “missed” from finding out, of course.)

In addition to the multiple-choice option among titles, individual groups were also free to determine what presentational style best suited their tastes and capabilities. Obviously a big city playhouse has the resources to mount a glitzier production than a small-town high school.

MAC took a straightforward, efficient, no-frills approach to the staging question: two rows of straight-back chairs to seat the chorister-soloists, jury style, with three microphones front and center and a piano alongside for their director’s use. It was clearly a sensible decision that allowed performers to focus all their rehearsal prep on getting the music right freed from having to fuss with any additional stagecraft business.

Clearly the strategy paid off. Not only did each of the individual performers, five front-row female, five back-row male, get to display their rich personal gifts but they also revealed equally impressive strength and skill in their collaborative offerings, especially in the big opening and closing ensembles. Mind, professional-class singing issuing from professionally (mostly KSU!) trained vocalists ought to surprise no one.

Guided with firm but friendly hands from the keyboard by director Heather McCornack, the hour-plus show was exactly the exuberant celebration of the return of real, in-person stage productions to venues large and small, here and everywhere. It was a joy to be on the receiving end of so massive a dose of good will.

Kudos, all who made this show of affirmation possible. You know who you are.

Recommended for you