/Judges comments for Purple Side

Judges comments for Purple Side

Judge 1:

I have to first begin by saying to both teams how incredibly impressed I am at what you were able to accomplish. You all channeled your talents, interests, skills, commitment, and spirit into an ORIGINAL MUSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION!! That is no small feat! From the moment I entered the space, I was moved by the excitement in the air and the support and enthusiasm you all shared for one another, not to mention the respect and good sportsmanship between the two teams! I was truly honored to be part of this event. Thank you for sharing your creative work. What a fun and amazing night!


The Purple Team’s production of Bad at Being Bad; or the League of Incredibly Evil Wrongdoers Who Sometimes Do Good was a bright, amusing romp into the superhero world that culminated in an important message about not allowing our past traumas to define who we become. From the beginning, I was impressed by the visual world of this production. The set design, particularly the scenic painting, was very well done. I loved the use of the old-school “BANG!” and “POW!” signs that occasionally appeared, and I found myself wishing they had been used more often, especially in the final climatic fight scene, where they would have been particularly effective. This felt like a missed opportunity. Overall, the world of the play was cohesive and consistent, although the Sunflow costume didn’t seem to fit into the same aesthetic as the rest of the heroes. The lighting helped to set the atmosphere, with some smooth transitions. There were a few scenes where the lighting worked against the production: one was the introduction of the villains, where the lights were too dark to follow what was happening with the characters, and one where the stage went so dark that it was unclear who was speaking during a later transition. But overall, the visual world of this play carried the story with confidence and clarity.

The script, story, and characters were, for the most part, clear and cohesive.  And by the way, Killswitch is just about THE BEST supervillain name you could ask for! The use of the reporter character to frame the scenes and cover major transitions was a smart move and worked well for pacing, storytelling, and great comic relief from Carson Reed! I enjoyed the unexpected relationship between Sparrow and Eddy, with Karly Wilmore and Abby Sledd playing the roles with honesty and heart. One element of the script that felt jarring was the switch in focus from following Eddy’s story most of the way, to the focus of the latter part of the play switching more to Sparrow and Falcon’s relationship. Adding in a few more clues about this reveal earlier in the script would have created a more dramatic build, and would have given more weight to Sparrow’s ousting of Falcon at the end. Even more so, involving Eddy more in these crucial moments would have kept the action more tied to Eddy. It wasn’t always clear whose story we were following.

I applaud the Directors for guiding the actors to fully embrace such HUGE characters and commit to the scope and silliness of the world with honesty and truth. The Dr. Weevil character especially was very well done, not to mention impressively sung by Madison Hotchkiss! The reality of the story was true for everyone. There were a few moments when the pacing and delivery of the lines were too fast, and some of the jokes and punchlines didn’t land because of this. For example: the “no crickets caught in the crossfire” joke undercut the importance of the final moments in Eddy’s journey. There were a few blocking choices that didn’t feel motivated, specifically the blocking/movement in Eddy’s “(A Villain) I’ll Stay” song, which got physically repetitive and felt a little stuck.

Fun and creative lyrics (again, I am just so impressed these were all original songs!), but pay attention to where the operative words fall in the score. Sometimes a tiny, unimportant word would get the highest note or be bumped up in the rhythm of the music in a way that pulled focus from the sense of the statement as a whole. The stylistic order of the songs in the show helps to shape pacing, and with two stylistically similar songs back-to-back, that both end with abrupt cut offs (in Scene 4, for example), it can start to feel a little redundant. Singing and dancing were both well done, and I was impressed with how well the choreography helped cement the relationships. Keep in mind that the more athletic and percussive the dancing, the harder it is for the singers to really used good breath support and fully engage those lyrics. This is why varying and shifting the style and tempo of songs around can help. This is why the style of the Mansion scene was so effective! I LOVED the tango piece at Miller’s Mansion! It was so nice to see such a different style of dance and music, and I really enjoyed how the genre mirrored the emotional storytelling of the moment. 

Overall, this show was a delightful and funny escape, and it was clear the amount of love and care that went into making it happen! I appreciated the final, heartwarming message of what it takes to really be a hero. You should all be so very proud of your hard work! Congratulations, Purple Team

Judge 2:

Thank you for an enjoyable evening in the theatre and for sharing your talents with us.  Your

Commitment, energy and camaraderie was a joy to experience. The following comments are provided as an overall assessment of what I experienced.

  1. Script
    • The superhero theme is a great one to explore
    • At times hard to follow the story – not sure whose story?
    • Had a hard time deciphering what the super powers were
    • Comedic moments were appreciated
    • Convention of using the News Reporter was effective – perhaps include for all transitions to help cover
  2. Lyrics
    • Would love to have had some more “superhero” speak included in the lyrics – almost seemed too normal
  3. Score
    • Immediately sets the mood from the top of the show
    • Effective use of reprise
    • Perhaps consider the structure and move the two solos so not back-to-back
  4. Direction
    • Good tableau work
    • The character work was not consistent with all the actors – some very strong, others hard to tell who they were
    • The first attraction of Eddy and Sparrow needed more of a moment – almost not noticed
    • Strong use of the news reporter staging – kept the scenes moving
    • Good use of space/mass
    • Good use of diagonals/levels
  5. Choreography
    • Strong element
    • Appropriate to the story
    • Perhaps incorporate more specific super hero gesture
    • Strong stage combat – well rehearsed
  6. Acting
    • Great energy throughout the storytelling
    • Take time to show us the character from the top of the story
    • What is your gesture – continue to use this throughout the story as a means of identify
    • Need to be larger than life and commit to this throughout the storytelling
    • Keep body strong when hitting gestures in tableau work
    • Keep character present on enter/exit
    • Some good comedic timing
  7. Singing
    • Some intonation issues, but mostly solid work
    • Good ensemble singing
  8. Dancing
    • Very strong element in this storytelling
    • Every actor was committed
    • Very enjoyable
  9. Orchestra
    • Volume was appropriate and did not overtake
    • Composition of instruments was appropriate
    • Strong performance
  10. Costumes
    • Could tell the groups – dark/light colors used
    • Would like to have seen more definition for each character – seemed incomplete and not able to really identify each individual super hero. The super suit that flew in was more in keeping with this idea
    • Almost too normal
  11. Set
    • Great use of the space
    • Good use of height to show power
    • Great variety
    • Strong scenic art
  12. Hair & Makeup
    • Perhaps consider including more with headwear– design seemed to stop at the neckline
    • Makeup was very understated – would love to have this be a much bigger statement
    • Perhaps add body makeup
  13. Props
    • Fit the theme
    • Rats and cow were noticeable
    • Fun signs
  14. Lighting Design
    • Purple cyc top of show was effective and appropriate
    • Nice cyc work with colors and chased
    • Consider adding more color on the stage area
    • There were several dark areas where there needed to be some face light
  15. Running
    • A few slow changes and often caught in the light
  16. Overall Effect of Production
    • Enjoyable just hard to follow the story

Judge 3:

The amount of energy and talent that emerges in Montevallo on College Night is impressive and 2022 was no exception starting with the Purples.  Overall this was a fun and engaging production that delighted the crowd – count this judge among the delighted.   The script for Bad at Being Bad contained enjoyable characters and a fun concept but at times it was challenging to distinguish each of the individual characters, their particular powers, motivations and relationships. Entertaining dialogue exchanges such as “Night Owl – who” added to the cheeky tone but the catchy super hero language might have appeared much earlier. The story line is tried and true, who doesn’t love super heroes and super villains?! Primary character introductions could have pushed the plot along faster if they had entered the story sooner.  The principal conflict among the multiple story lines could have been clearer – the archetypical battle for the city, the conspiracy, the love story, the self-discovery, the revenge story.  Some very fun and catchy lyrics helped develop the characters. Song structure had a consistent formula that teetered towards predictability at times. The score was very effective overall, offering some powerful songs with only a moment or so of writing beyond the range of a supporting actor or two.  But a question: why have two very strong but similar female ballads, both very good songs, back to back? The direction demonstrated solid staging choices integrating with visual design elements.  The casting was appropriate and charmingly relatable to contemporary audiences.   Hip hop, street and contemporary lyrical choreography was most effective in supporting the overall tone of the production and the stylized, musical fight choreography was entertaining.  Acting featured a range of physical characterization skills with several outstanding  performances – highlights were Dr. Weevil, Falcon Man and Sparrow but these are only a few of many. Overall very strong vocal techniques and some very, very good voices but more challenges with vocal clarity and diction that spilled over into lyric clarity in the singing than one would expect from such powerful vocalists.  Dance performances were more technically sound in the contemporary choreography. Some loss of uniformity and focus specifically in the Do or Die number but still very fun to watch. The orchestra was full and balanced and sounded great. The instrumentation could have offered a more dynamic journey in the number and variety of instruments throughout the entire score.  Costumes took full advantage of the opportunities presented for identifying characters such Solarflare, Dr. Weevil and FalconMan but it was harder to decipher who or what some of the other characters were or could do from other costumes.  The set visually fit the theme and offered great places for the actors to climb onto. Some of the larger pieces appeared to be somewhat unwieldy during scene changes and some of the construction looked a little wobbly at moments.   Hair and makeup contributed greatly to the individuality of the characters and the indie feel of the production.  Kudos go to prop designer and fabricator of the post bug transformation of FalconMan, that was fun!  Lighting design got the job done illuminating the characters and offering a mood for each scene. The running crew moved a lot of big scenery during some very short transitions and managed to transform some bulky pieces quickly and efficiently.     Overall this was a promising production with a sentimental message and a lot of heart and soul.  Not so bad at being bad, Purples, not so bad at all! 

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