/Judges’ comments for “Pleasant Vanished”
Scene from "Pleasant Vanished." Photo by Britton Wade, Photography editor.

Judges’ comments for “Pleasant Vanished”

Judge 1:

Great job by both Purple and Gold Teams! This was not an easy year to judge and for that I am grateful that both teams truly brought their “A- Game.”

“Pleasant Vanished” Response (Purple Team)

Let me say that I absolutely loved the unique storyline and at the very first, I asked myself “Is this something that really happened but I missed it because it’s took place in another part of the country?” Which I have to say speaks well for getting mine and other audience members attention from the get-go of the show.

There are so many great things to praise on this piece. The strong voices were showcased so well during the show and the moments of harmony were lovely. The choreography was impressive and complimented the artists and production.

The direction created a free-flowing show that kept us on our feet ready for what would happen next and more. In fact, I loved how smoothly this piece ran. Also, the use of levels and keys events that moved through the audience truly created an eerie experience for the characters and we as an audience.

One aspect worth noting is that the Ensemble worked so well with one another and were focused on creating a good show and while I understand that there is a competition at play – creating a good show makes for the best experience for everyone who gets to see your great work. With that said, thank you for the great show focus!

I liked the technical elements that included hints of 80s hairstyles and clothes balanced with contemporary characters looking back on past events. The lighting and set all played a huge part in making the show successful. The props were just the right pieces for the show but I would kick myself if I didn’t acknowledge how AMAZING the Cotton Candy looked in the piece. I loved it!

There are a few things that I want to offer to build your work for the future. The first is when working with the microphones it is always a challenge to find the right levels that are not too low but also not too loud. There were a few times where I missed dialogue because the microphone may have been close to the performers mouth so I was not able to under the words because of the sound quality. The more one works with this technical issue – the more we learn how to make adjustments with this difficult task.

There were two ideas that came to mind regarding the story. The first was that I wanted to know more how did Viola’s diary come into the hands of Carolynn. I felt like this was a huge payoff for another strong reveal and I wanted to see more closure in this part of the story.

Speaking of huge payoff – Seeing Eric get their payback was a ton a fun! One thing that I might suggest would be having him drink the water first and continue to drink it while he tells the story as it means

nothing at the time. Later it can be revealed that when Sebastian learned how to recreate the controlling elements in the water, then we find out that our villain has been drinking it during the last moments of the play. When he took the glass of water after sharing the story – we knew where this was going already and I wanted one more surprise.

All in all, this was a great show and I loved it! And one of the main reasons why I loved it is that you made it a point to let the audience see that we were in good hands through the scene transitions. I have already shared that I loved the lighting, set, and props but it was the handling of those things that win us over every time. The transitions had purpose and were well choreographed and seeing that these moments matter to you – takes us further on the pathway of this fun journey and gives us such confidence that we are going to have a good time watching your work. Thanks for making this a priority and doing it so well.

“Pleasant Vanished” was an exciting story/lovely piece where I absolutely enjoyed the performers, the design needs, the original tale, and performance from start to finish. Well done, Purple!

Judge 2:

“Perfect in Pleasant” was a great opening with clever staging. Be careful of losing pitch with solo vocalists.

During the opening number, when filling the stage, there was a bit of imbalance when utilizing the stairs. There was a big open space SL, upstage of the DS actors.

“What is True?” – Loved this song. ***A note for both shows – the pit was too loud – with singers battling to be heard***

There were quite a few moments when levels could have been used for songs, even solos…they don’t need to move downstage center.

Carolynn had a great energy throughout her performance. Nice acting chops. I was sometimes taken out of a moment when actors would turn downstage to say their lines facing out. We can stay connected to the actors in the scene.

Carolynn’s and Viola’s first monologues may’ve been enhanced without playing them out.

Providing variations of ‘pictures,’ let these monologues take place anywhere on the stage – as opposed to downstage center. “What is True?” (reprise) could have started earlier – as male character exited.

“Left Behind” – Tammy was excellent throughout.

Going into “Pleasant is Magic” – such a fun number and very nice harmonies.

Nice moments with the choreography.

“Who Are You?” – we missed some mic cues and that caused an imbalance in the vocals.

I love the attention to making the set changes interesting and choreographed.

I sort of felt like Eric’s song could have taken place after much of the dialogue that followed it. That dialogue built a bit more than what was before the song.

Love the creativity.

In creating the scripts, pay attention to the scenes going into song. There were a couple of moments I felt there could have been more interaction among the characters truly inspiring the movement into song. When staging the smaller scenes, ensure that the crosses actors are making are motivated by the action of the scenes and the characters’ wants.

A very creative set, utilizing the Fall Fair to exist as different locations. There were moments when those levels could have heightened the journey in a scene. When Carolynn confronts her mother, I loved the beginning taking place up on the level. Don’t be afraid to leave a scene upstage. If it’s powerful, it will still make an impact. Carolynn/Mom scene remaining up on the level with some focused lighting would have maintained the strength you were looking for.

The wagon set was really nice but went unused. I see what you’re going for with this. Had the table been set directly downstage of the wagon, there would have been a stamp on where we were in the scene. Placing it SR of the set piece was a little distracting. And the confrontation scene at the end could be heightened by placing the three characters in a smaller space – trapping them to face each other. Lovely work by the Ensemble and connecting to their ‘citizen’ characters. I also enjoyed the choreography – much fun. J

There was good attention to costuming and period styles. Some actors’ costumes successfully bled from one era to another. Sebastian’s jacket was a bit large but not in a distracting manner. And Eric’s first costume change between eras was simple and fantastic.

Judge 3:



-Really Nice opening Tableau.

-Many of the stage pictures were well thought out.

-Really Good director’s eye.

-Choreography was very 1985 in the scenes set in the past. Great research.

-I liked how you incorporated the purple “sign.”

-Tap number was a nice, polished touch. Great that you had that talent and that you used it.

-Transitions may have been one of my favorite parts of the show. I love a good focused and well-choreographed transition. Unless you are in total black-out, we are watching everything!

-The choreography overall was interesting and well executed by the cast.


-The Script was clever. It kept my interest. It also felt like an 80’s “horror” film.

– “What is True?” Nice set up song for the whole show.

-Nice poking fun of Gold. I didn’t know the inside jokes, but they were still funny to me.

– “Who are you?” sounds very Sondheim inspired!


– “What is True?” Carolynn – nice, supported voice.

-Everyone’s energy was super up, and the ensemble work was wonderful.

-Aidan – nice playing age when character is older.

-You guys took the time to listen and respond. I appreciated that. The show didn’t get too frantic.

-Nice character work from everyone, particularly jumping back and forth in time.


-I loved the 80’s color scheme. I also liked the use of levels.

-The costumes also had a nice coherent theme.

-All the elements were coherent and seemed to work well together.



-I wonder if a little more attention could have been paid to focus. A couple of times when there were large groups of people on stage, I wasn’t always sure where to look.


-I wonder if the music could have been lower at times. The music was a bit overpowering, and I had trouble understanding the lyrics.

-I wonder if the script had focused a little more on those that had vanished and less about telling us that you were telling their story. I think the telling the story was obvious.

-I wonder if there could have been a more dramatic inciting incident that caused the father to make such a dramatic choice to run away. Just a thought.


I wonder in “What’s is Time? Reprise” why the actor walked backwards while singing. I wonder if it would have been okay just to have the actor turn and cross. (that’s a picky note, I know! It just looked so awkward.)


-I wonder if the upper-level curtain area could have been used for a reveal of some sort. That design choice wasn’t very clear to me.

-I wonder if you might have just stuck to the “suggested” locations with just furniture and levels of the main set without wheeling on a realistic room. I think the style of the piece was stronger when the scenery was representative rather than mixing in the realism.

College Night Judges
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