ĭmáGen: New Musical “For Tonight” Debuts at Wharton Center

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At a rehearsal of the new musical For Tonight in the Pasant Theatre at Wharton Center, the cast members revealed their connection with their fellow actors while performing gorgeous choral music, indie rock songs and rhythmic folk songs.  The For Tonight cast includes a fourth grade student, seventh grade student, high school students, MSU Theatre Department students and Broadway stars. This collaboration, named ĭmáGen, is made possible by the MSUFCU Institute for Arts & Creativity at Wharton Center and MSU’s Department of Theatre, and was a huge success with last year’s inaugural performances, featuring a staged reading of Chess.  This year’s performances of For Tonight look and sound to be another success in the making.   

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Roberta Glennon-Rule, a student at Everett High School in Lansing, heard about the unique opportunity to collaborate with MSU students and Broadway stars onstage through the ĭmáGen program and was cast as part of the ensemble.  After several weeks of rehearsal, Roberta thinks For Tonight is a “really good show” because the music blends together to inspire emotional connections in the audience members and the cast.  Another high school student in the cast of For Tonight, Isabella Abuan, especially enjoys the score as well.  “It’s so captivating…I just love it!”  She especially likes the song ‘Away.’  “…the opening…is just so big and in your face.”  

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Joe Hostnik, an MSU Theatre student in the ensemble, encourages the community to see the performance because “…this would be the opportunity to see a show that might be on Broadway…the music is addicting.  The show has a really interesting plot…it’s…got a lot of good stuff in it…[and] you won’t find it on the internet.”  He enjoys ‘Keeping Us Alive,’ a work song, because it “give[s] me goose bumps when I listen to them [the singers].”  Joe enjoys working with the younger cast members and commented, “At first they [the high school cast members] made their own little group and we [university cast members] were separate from them, but then we kind of integrated.”  

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Hannah Robby, a high school student at Lifetime Academy, explained why there was a separation at the beginning of the rehearsal process.  When she attended the first bonding exercises at the beginning of the For Tonight rehearsal process, she thought, “Oh my gosh, college students!  Holy cow!”  However, after rehearsing for several weeks together, Hannah reports the cast is “just a band of brothers.”  She particularly enjoys the song ‘Stay,’ a duet between the characters Haydon and Nettie, because “it just makes you want to cry.” For Tonight, she says, is “addicting.”

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LEFT Dave Wendelberger, Musical Director. Stefanie Din, Stage Manager. Shennelle Williams, Composer and Book Author. Whitney Rhodes, Book Author. Joe Barros, Director.

Become addicted to For Tonight with Hannah and the rest of the cast on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at 7:30 pm.  For tickets or to learn more visit http://www.whartoncenter.com/events/detail/dot-for-tonight

Hear more about For Tonight from Broadway performers and MSU Theatre Department cast members in this video:https://youtu.be/LLmSsgVM7No

-By Wharton Center intern Miranda Madro. Miranda is a junior at MSU majoring in English and minoring in Theatre.

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