/Judges’ comments for “To Live and Die”
Scene from "To Live and Die." Photo by Britton Wade, Photography editor.

Judges’ comments for “To Live and Die”

Judge 1:

This show was a lovely surprise from start to finish! From the top of the piece, it at first appeared to borrow ideas from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum but then when we are introduced to story of the Gods and Mortals it showed that we were about to truly learn about ourselves and the beauty of life.

The opening piece had such great energy and grabbed the audience immediately and had us wanting more. I loved the staging and choreography, which complimented the opening song and gave a wonderful glimpse into the characters and where we were going.

The costumes, hair, make-up and set pieces were just right and I especially appreciated that some pieces were able to be adjusted to switch performers from the world of the gods and those of the human realm. These transitions helped me to see that we were going to move along with purpose, which I love.

The set (with lighting) created several combinations of warm colors that took on the journey for the four main characters. I would like to suggest way that can help with future pieces – I would consider looking at transitions with a purpose. The blackouts to move pieces caused a stop in the story and while we could see playing with the those onstage finding comedic moments in the shadows – it did break up the flow. If we are leaving the roof top while going to the club or into the coffee shop, then moving from one location to the next while we see the space changing can actually hold our attention. This can be especially true if the transitions are choreographed to find movement for the journey. Sure, we want to know that this is a new location and you did that well with your set pieces. Now trust that we will follow all that you want us to see. You have got this!

Speaking of got this! I know that there were problems with the mics and everyone involved kept their cool and stayed focused on the show. The level of professionalism during the trying moments was fantastic! That’s live theatre and you all handled it well. I am certain that you all may have felt that you didn’t want to use the microphone in the hand but we all understood and were glad to see the shift for the sake of the show.

I also want to praise the performances of the entire cast for acting, singing, and dancing was treat to watch. I especially enjoyed the four main players performed by Stephen Haymond, Molly Malone, Hannah Mallory, and Jake Manly. I also want to share that I enjoyed the energy from Cole Broadhead weaving in and out throughout the overall storyline. The overall arc of the characters were clear and provided such dimension for every role played in the piece. The focus on acting was clearly important to this show and cast and I loved watching what you did with your work. The objectives to achieve by overcoming your obstacles was apparent by each of you and this was another professional touch that I enjoyed.

This is such a wonderful storyline with a poignant message that reminds us to embrace the day and enjoy all that our lives have to offer. Personally, I think there’s room to build on this piece and see where it can go next.

All the best to you, Gold!

Finally, I want to acknowledge how impressive I found the program and front of house for this event. From start to finish – attention was paid to every detail and I appreciate all you have done!

Judge 2:

The first moment of the show was absolutely stunning – set, lighting, freezes.

“To Live and to Die” – there were some fantastic harmonies in this number and a great energy from the whole cast. At first, I thought, I am not quite sure what time period we are in but then I left that to a bit of Xanadu meets Head Over Heels.

Morose – Bravo in that opening number! And you maintained a fantastic energy throughout – even when your microphone died….. (to live and die…see what I did there?)

I really enjoyed the lyrics in “To Live and to Die” until “just could be…”. I can’t quite explain why that line didn’t fit with the rest.

Nice variation of stage pictures throughout the opening.

***Giving this note to both shows – the Pit was too loud and the singers were battling to be heard****

“Our Purpose” – a lovely song. I felt there were so many opportunities to vary the blocking. The actors don’t have to face out for us to connect with them and the story. What kept resounding during the show, in my head – this set is FANTASTIC!! Congrats on the amazing work you all did there.

I feel where we were going with Jack’s monologue. Be careful of going too dramatic in presenting a monologue of this sort.

Olive – Great voice, Great actor, Great energy – Hannah’s great! Period

Intuvius – Fantastic attention to every character he played in this production – Bravo~

“What We Gotta Do” – I love the construct of this quartet. I just couldn’t hear everyone. I don’t know if it’s because the Pit was too loud or if mic cues were missed?

During the scene at the Onyx – we got the ensemble a little too bunched up SL. They could have been continuously moving about or in and out. I was questioning the motivation of the crosses downstage at the coffee shop. This is such a great scene. We would still have been captivated if the actors remained in the confines of the coffee shop. It’s a very important scene in which you need the characters closer together.

Side observation (given to both shows) – Songs/Solos can take place anywhere on the stage. Strive for variations away from downstage center.

Elsya – Really nice voice, but I couldn’t always hear her. She had a very nice connection. Would love to see a little more energy in the eyes (trust, this was also told to me as a young actor).

“More than Words” (is this the Farewell?). There were some really great lyrics and I like the composition of this one. You’re so smart. There were just a couple of instances when simplicity crept into the lyrics.

For me, the finale could have been even more impactful if the four leads had been upstage – in the heavens where Olive was headed. The ensemble could have been spread throughout the stage level in different poses of levels. The song was so good.

Explore use of different areas of the stage. And I wanted to see a bit more movement in that finale – not dance but movement.

Very nice work on the script, maintaining a solid through-line from scene to scene. For direction – keep exploring using areas of the stage. It felt as if we were trying to use the expanse and the downstage area to emphasize. If we’re hooked, we’re hooked, no matter where the scene takes place on stage.

Some really fun choreography! I felt some opportunities for variations of stage pictures using the ensemble.

Overall acting – Fantastic by all…especially in the scene into “The Place to Be”

The pace of the scene into “Cloud Nine” felt a little fast. Fun work with the Hair and Makeup and the plethora of costume changes were seamless and put a stamp on each location.

Y’all had a lot of props and I’m giving you PROPS! – Great job!

Excellent Lighting Design and use of the cyc to highlight location and feeling!

I really enjoyed this show – a lot!

Judge 3:

Let me just make an overall statement about GOLD. I love how you all love and support one another. I can feel the closeness of this group. Be careful that your enthusiasm and support of one another doesn’t overpower the show itself. Sometimes the audience vocal reactions overpowered the actors, and I was not able to hear or understand what was going on in the show. Save the accolades for after songs and in transitions. Don’t steal the spotlight from the actors/show.



-Really liked the acapella opening.

-I thought the pace was good and the story moved at a good pace.

-Good use of the depth and width of the space.

-The choreography was fun.

-Interesting stage pictures. Good directing eye.


– “Everything is going to be Alright” had beautiful harmonies. I really loved that song.

-This was an interesting premise to have both fantastical and yet realistic elements in one show.

-There was some nice music in this show. Kudos to you.


-The relationships between the “earth” characters were very truthful and honest.

-All the big numbers had great energy! Thank you!

-Olive and Jack had real genuine caring moments. When the truth of the “death” is revealed, it was really moving. I saw a “journey” happening with most all the characters.


-Loved the gold dress!

-There was a consistent use of the design element of a “corset” that worked well.

-The vastness of “heaven” was portrayed well.

-Loved the city scape that was put in place so quickly.

-Liked the use of different columns.



-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 more time could have been spent on staging the transitions. It seemed as if the actors were trying to pull focus during the scene changes rather than just getting the job done.


-I wonder if the bits of humor could have been a little more witty and less forced.

-I wonder if a different choice could have been made instead of a “fair” in the inner city that it could have been something more “urban.”

-I wonder if something bigger could have been written early in the script so that “Heaven” or the “Celestial Place” could have gone awry instead of just the two characters being bored.


-I wonder if a little more time could have been spent working on the vocals. There were a couple of places where the singers could have been a little more confident in their notes.

-I wonder if “Elysa” could have tried backing off the over gesturing and smirking, it seemed a little targeted and forced. She is a fine actor and can trust her comedic timing.


-I wonder if the costume for the heart patient character could have been a little softer. She looked awfully healthy and tough in her outfit.

-I wonder if there could have been bigger costume/hair choices for the celestial character that was playing all the distinct roles.

College Night Judges
+ posts