Group shot of gold side cast. Photo by: Kat Bell

Judge 1:

The Gold side’s musical, “The Golden Days,” started off with a burst of energy that set the mood for the evening. The show seemed to be a mash-up of Grease and Hairspray, set in a high school coming to terms with its racial tensions. The choreography took front and center from the beginning – both the moves and the dancers were exciting. The immediate standout was Jonathan Everhart, playing the role of Charlie. (This shouldn’t be a surprise as Everhart also choreographed the show.) The Gold team made a very smart choice in making dance the center of their show. When you have so many excellent dancers and such a talented choreographer, play to your strengths. The Gold side also had several very talented singers, led by Kensley Sandlin as Dottie. Sandlin and Everhart played their roles earnestly and naturally, making me believe that they were good friends onstage and off. Joy Hill and Adrianna Nix as Dottie’s two best friends lent sass and support as Dottie broke away from her parents and domineering boyfriend, played with appropriate bravado by Lucas Younts.

Scenery and lighting for “The Golden Days” were relatively simple, but had some effective choices. Using one major set piece to establish place – a blackboard for school, a wall with menu board for the diner, a kitchen wall for Dottie’s house – was a clever way to move quickly between locations. Lighting was mostly functional rather than dramatic, but one moment stood out: the beginning of the final scene at the school dance, where the cast was silhouetted against a rainbow cyc. It looked great and set the mood for the scene very effectively.

While the songs fit well into the story, I felt that they could have been more melodic and shown off the actors’ vocal ranges more. All of the songs seemed to be in the same middle to low range, which did not make them very memorable. I did, however, like the song “Getting to Know You,” at least the structure and message of it. I would recommend a different title, as that is a very famous title and the song never actually used those words. But as the central song in the show, it delivered the whole message: I’m not what you think I am on first sight – we have more in common than anyone expects. I enjoyed watching Dottie and Charlie find common ground and start to build trust with each other.

Overall, “The Golden Days” and its message were so appropriate for our current national conversation. The issues these characters faced in the 1970s have changed very little. I applaud the Gold team for taking on such a sensitive topic and handling it with grace and empathy.

Judge 2:

“Golden Days was a DELIGHT TO WATCH and so much FUN! I enjoyed this production from start to finish. It was upbeat, well cast and yet had a significant storyline included. It was very clear that this team worked very hard to put this production together and I commend everyone that was involved. It appeared as though the team from the endearing “thank you” from the top to the ending song was fully committed to this production and worked collaboratively. I was very IMPRESSED with how much was ACCOMPLISHED after hearing about how much time everyone was given to create this selection from the ground up. Please note: I am only an observer coming in and know nothing about the process. Please take this feedback as supporting what you did so well and perhaps learning about what could be improved upon for the future. 

This script reminded me of Grease meets Hairspray. Script had very clear characters that were consistent throughout the entire production. Each character was crafted to serve the storyline. There were a few transitions between script and score that could be revised to tighten up and streamline. I would suggest contemplating cutting the parent’s song. The actors performed it very well, I just think structure-wise it comes at a place in the script where you want the storyline to move quickly towards the dance. OPENING NUMBER was a HIGHLIGHT. The lyrics and the score fit well within style of show and very appropriate for vocal ranges. I think there more to find within the melody lines that could simply add variation to the songs for audience engagement. Lyrics were fitting, simple and appropriate. 

DIRECTION WAS TERRIFIC. Stage pictures were very clear. Characters were PERFECTLY CAST and well defined. I really want to commend Ryan Rorick on his strong work. CHOREOGRAPHY was the highlight of the show. Jonathan Everhart BRAVO! I loved all of the choreography. A few times contemporary dance was mixed in with the 1970’s decade that you might want to re-visit and revise. The dance off could be cleaned up a bit just for timing. This was a very strong cast and each person really played their role well. OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES included Kensley Sandlin and Jonathan Everheart. Everyone understood the storyline and dynamics of the characters. There were a few times between spoken lines and singing that acting was forgotten so just make sure to connect the thoughts going in and out of these moments. This is an advanced note so bravo to the cast. 

SINGING WAS TERRIFIC. The only struggle was the microphones. I understand from years of directing and acting in musical theatre this always happens. The joy of technology. The cast really executed the choreography well and worked together as a group. A highlight was the exploding hands in the group that happened several times at toward the end. Opening number as I mentioned previously was a blast as well. The CAST had STRONG FOCUSED ENERGY. Uniformity in the dance off could be worked on. Orchestra balance at times was a challenge due to microphones. Volume and Dynamics could be worked on for improvement. 

Costumes, Hair and Make-up were colorful, engaging and character driven. I would make sure everything is consistent for the time period. I might consider changing the last dress of Dottie to something a bit more youthful and free. The jackets for the athletes looked like they were from the 1950’s where other costumes were completely aligned with the 1970’s style. Scenic Design was 

appropriate for the period and style, however, It was visually flat. There may be more creative
ways to improve upon the appearance adding depth and levels. Props: served the production, did
not cause any distraction. Well done. The LIGHTING design was fairly basic but overall
EFFECTIVE. There were a few odd moments that could have been enhanced with lighting. When
the entire cast went to the stairs towards the end, lighting was odd. The colors chosen were
appropriate to the period. I do think there was more to discover even though it was a basic light
plot and your were limited in your options. RUNNING of the production was SMOOTH and
effective. NICE WORK, Kimmi Lange
In conclusion, THANK YOU for an enjoyable night of theatre. Please celebrate all of the hard
work you did and accomplished. It was a privaledge to share this evening of theatre with you!

Judge 3:

GOLD

· The overture took off with a lot of energy and the orchestration sounded full and they played with enthusiasm.

· It was hard to hear the lyrics at times with all the audience cheering.

· The scene changes were spot on. Quick, efficient, and the music was underscored very well and timed out perfectly. It drives me crazy when there are dead silences while the scene changes finish. Nice fades as well. Good job on that.

· Actors moved with purpose during scene changes and where still in character which in my mind drove the show forward.

· Choreography was outstanding. Creative, energetic, and fit was the storytelling was all about. Exceptional job.

· Nice work in taking a risky subject and making it work. I felt the show was a cross between Hairspray and Grease.

· That brings me to the next point. I was a bit confused as to what time period the show takes place in. At first, I thought 50’s/60’s, but some of the costumes threw me off. They gave a 70’s vibe to me.

· Musical styles were varied and I believe I heard jazz, pop, and a bit of Latin influence.

· Lyrics added to the storytelling and flowed easily. Crisp, clear diction as well.

· I liked the diner props.

· Finally got what the “3 weeks in a row” line meant.

· I thought the direction flowed and did not distract from the show with extraneous movement.

· Dance off was exciting to watch, however, when both sides danced together, it was difficult to see the special nuances.

· It may not have been possible but it would have helped to switch out “Robbie’s” mic for someone else’s. Sound doesn’t play into it, but it was very distracting and hard to hear lyrics.

· There were only two voices heard in the female trio song which was too bad since it sounded like nice harmonies. I liked the stop time section.

· Most ranges were appropriate for singers except at one point I thought the music was too low for Te’Airrah Thomas (I believe it was).

· High marks were for direction/choreography/dancing/orchestra

· PS. I don’t know if I should mention this, but a highlight performance was given by Taylor Rosser. Fun to watch and was in the scene every moment. Great vocals as well.

· Congratulations to all.