Cast of purple side show. Photo by: Kat Bell

Judge 1:

The Purple side’s musical, “Witchful Thinking: One Hex of a Musical” (etc.), opened on a very different world, but explored a similar central theme: “different” doesn’t mean “bad.” A variety of magical creatures filled the stage for a large opening number that immediately established the show’s setting as being in a different world from our own. Visually, the set, costumes, and lighting in this show were very effective. The set and lighting in particular were on a slightly higher caliber than that of the Gold team – they were coherent and created some beautiful stage pictures. Two scenic moments that stood out for me were the ship and the water (cleverly created with blue sheets) and the cave in the final scene. The lighting provided color and mood appropriate to the fantasy genre of the show.

While “Witchful Thinking” was clearly inspired by shows like Frozen and Shrek, the storyline was still original. It was a novel take on the central conflict of stepmother and stepdaughter. Karly Wilmore and Annslyn Pilkington as Clara and the Queen, respectively, both had excellent voices and fully formed characters. Another standout in this show was Josh Giles as Clara’s faithful friend and business partner. Giles’s voice and stage presence were exciting to watch. James Bailey as the awkward, trying-so-hard-to-improve-himself royal guard, Finch, was also delightful.

But what impressed me the most about “Witchful Thinking” was its script and score. All of the writers seemed to understand how musicals should be structured, with songs and reprises coming in at just the right moments. The songs were tuneful and memorable. I particularly enjoyed Clara and the Queen’s duet, “I Tried” and its effective reprise. The first iteration showed the complicated relationship between the two, but the reprise turned the tables, revealing the dangerous conflict. The script was also funny in all the right places and moving when it needed to be.

“Witchful Thinking” edged out “The Golden Days” primarily because its elements were more cohesive and just slightly more sophisticated. But I want to say again that both the Gold and Purple teams have so much to be proud of and celebrate. There was no question in my mind that both sides worked well together and enjoyed what they created. They both brought a memorable evening of musical theatre. To me, there is nothing better in the world.

Judge 2:

This production was ENGAGING FROM THE BEGINNING TO END. Thank you for all your
hard work, time and dedication you gave to this production, Purple team. This reminded me of if
Into the Woods was merged with Frozen. It was clear that everyone on this team put in 100% and
was extremely collaborative. This show ARTISTICALLY was a SUCCESS! Please note: I am
only one observer coming in to give you feedback. I do not know anything about your process and
the journey to your performance. I sincerely hope these thoughts will enrich your lives and you
will celebrate your success and improve upon what you have strongly built.
This SCRIPT was VERY CREATIVE and highly entertaining. The three characters of Clara, Troll
and Finch were smartly written. There is one major challenge. The first scene/song needs to be revisited.
Characters need to be introduced in either song or script clearly, so the audience knows
whom we are following and why. This idea can be done in a variety of ways from what Fiddler
on the Roof does in the song “Tradition” or a simple scripted scene. I spent a good deal of time
trying to figure out what was going on for a bit. LYRICS AND SCORE were FANTASTIC.
Amazing work, Thomas Frost and Elicia Freeman. I was HIGHLY IMPRESSED with your sense
of variation, rhythm, meter and imaginative lyrics. I was humming “do it for the money” the next
day.
Stage pictures were clear. However, the transitions between songs and script were very awkward
at times so thing could definitely be rehearsed and developed. CASTING was PERFECT. The first
image was excellent. Slowing down the sword fighting in the background while others were in
dialogue might have been effective and improve focus. Choreography was good. I thought the
movement chosen was effective for the cast. ACTING was STRONG. Stand out performances
were Karly Wilmore, Josh Giles and James Bailey. Karly always pursued her intentions honestly
and with high stakes. One major note for the entire cast: vocal clarity and diction throughout could
have been improved. Some of this was due to the microphones but never rely on technology.
Everyone had clearly defined characters and was consistent throughout. SINGING was
EXCELLENT. Annslyn Pilkington’s voice is incredible and had a stand out performance. Healthy
belting-yeah! Dancing was appropriate and varied. There were moments that just needed a bit more
time to flesh out for the cast to be effectively uniform. The ORCHESTRA was BALANCED. All
instrumentalists did an effective job. It was fun to see an actor on stage (well done, Lavaun Lloyd
Thompson) as well play trumpet.
The DESIGN elements were CREATIVE and VISUALLY STUNNING. Costumes were original;
character based and fit the actors well. Really enjoyed the addition of wigs for the creatures and
fantastical make-up. Troll looked perfect. Cameron Wasner and Beth Vaughan: BRAVO! From
the revolving scenery piece to the cave, the set pieces were versatile and creative. Props fit the
theme and setting. LIGHTING set mood and was varied in color choices and intensity. All of the
design elements worked really well together. The running of the show was VERY SMOOTH.
BRAVO! Purple team on a lovely night of theatre. Thank you for all of your hard work on this
production and for coming together and creating this fantastical story. It was a pleasure to see it
and I thank you for sharing it.

Judge 3:

Overture was very good, musicians played well and sounded full most of the time. There was only one section when just a few reeds played and sound was a bit thin.

· Sound was better after about 5 minutes. (Sound didn’t factor into the rating).

· “Do It for the Money” great gong and the ranges were excellent.

· From the very top, the production values jumped right out at us. The show had a visually beautiful design and lighting provided real emotions for the scenes.

· The lighting and silhouettes gave a polished look to the overall production.

· Loved the boat design. Would have liked the lighting in that scene to be more isolated on the boat itself. Maybe undulating the waves slowly to give movement to the scene?

· This show had a higher sophisticated feel to it.

· The offstage singers were well balanced and I liked the dramatic effects of the sound.

· All or most of the songs were in a minor key which gave it a historical element.

· The fight choreography was well done and safe!

· Continue to work on the diction, especially in the opening number. It needs to drive the energy through to the end. The vowels are the emotion of the music but the consonants get us what we want. So, punching them more aggressively would offer a greater want.

· I thought the direction of the tavern scene could have pushed forward a bit more which could have given it more energy as well.

· There could have been more scene change music. Perhaps adding a tag of the previous song played at a different pace. It’s hard for an audience to sit through silence when things move onstage. Should be times to fade when lights come up in scene.

· In the tavern set design, there was a piano. I was confused as I waited for someone to play it (fake or real). It’s there so why not put it to use? People always mingle around the piano player!

· Most ranges were appropriate except for a few places. First one was the queen’s assistant – range was too low at times. Also, Finch’s solo was too low for him. Just a few intervals higher may have provided a more energetic feel.

· Scene with the sword fighting was choreographed nicely. I would have liked to have had the 2 fighting in front more isolated. The background movement was distracting.

· PS. Highlight performance was given by Josh Giles. A great presence onstage and a terrific voice as well.

· Congratulations to all.