By Cady Inabinett, Managing editor of content
Montevallo alumni and students gathered in Palmer Auditorium on Oct. 14 for the performance of “Once Upon a College Night,” a College Night Revue show.
Festivities began earlier in the afternoon, with each side’s alumni groups, Old Golds and Vintage Purples, jointly hosting an ice cream social. At the event, Senior Class President Desirae Billingsley announced Marion Brown as the dedicatee of the class of 2023.
But the night’s main event was the College Night Revue show “Once Upon a College Night.” The show, with a cast and crew of Purple and Gold alumni, drew songs from previous College Night shows, specifically shows focused on fairy tales, to create a new play. The script was written and directed by Jeff Walker and Jenna Bellamy.
President of The University of Montevallo National Alumni Association Stephanie Shaw emceed the event, encouraging typical College Night revelry as she invited the current Purple and Gold Side leaders onto the stage, which then led into side cheers and circling up.
As the play began, the curtain opens to a bookshelf set, meant to represent the College Night Archives. A fairy, Marigold—played by Chelsea Orr, opens the show by singing “Before the Present, Beyond the Past,” from Gold Side’s 1965 show “Rapunzel, Rapunzel! or A Not So Grimm Fairy Tale.”
Two other fairies, Violet—played by Annslyn Plinkington—and Tinker Bell—played by Sara James, join Marigold on stage. Marigold and Violet explain that they’re, respectively, Gold and Purple Side fairies and that, along with Tinker Bell, they’re the keepers of College Night fairytales. The two argue about what play should be put on, namedropping various shows from the past, before Tinker Bell suggests doing a mix of different shows, leading into “A Story to Tell” from Gold Side’s 2011 show “A Tale of Two Wolves.”
During this song, Tinker Bell introduces each of the play’s protagonists, Snow White—played by Kensley Sandlin, Prince Rankin—played by Richie Lisenby, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider—played by Tyree Walker, and Robin Hood—played by Jared Max Wright.
The play then shifts its focus to Snow White, who, as Tinker Bell narrates, is day-drinking boxed wine after being cheated on by her husband Prince Charming. She sings “A Not So Happy Ending,” from Purple Side’s 2006 show “The Complex Princess with the Princess Complex or Glass Slippers Give You Blisters,” to explain the failings of her impending divorce with Prince Charming.
Snow White asks the three fairies to help her out with their magic powers. They inform her they can’t, but advise her to visit the Fairy Godmother—who is working at The Poisoned Apple, a hot nightclub only three kingdoms away—to grant her a happily-ever-after.
As Snow White sets off on her quest, she first happens upon Prince Rankin’s kingdom, where residents are singing “Let Rejoicing Fill the Air,” from Gold Side’s 1991 show “A Little Knight Music,” revealing that Prince Rankin is about to be married. However, the song is interrupted with an announcement that the maiden meant to marry Rankin has run away.
Snow White asks kingdom residents why Rankin’s fiancée would run away. They say Rankin has been cursed with halitosis—singing “Halitosis” from Purple Side’s 1970 show “The Heir Apparent with the Apparent Air or The Prince Was a Real Stinker or People Who Wear Glass Slippers Should Not Have Babies” to explain this to Snow White.
As Rankin comes on stage, everyone scatters except for Snow White. Discussing their woes, Rankin tells Snow White that he used to think he would be able to find a cure for his halitosis, but he feels lost since one hasn’t been found—singing “Lost is the Dreamer” from Purple Side’s 1983 show “A Good Knight’s Sleep.”
Snow White asks Rankin to come with her to see the Fairy Godmother, and the two head on to the next kingdom, Mother Goose Land. The fairies point out various nursery rhyme characters who live in Mother Goose Land, but all of them are scared off stage by the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
The pair explain their problems and their quest to seek their happily-ever-afters from the Fairy Godmother. Itsy Bitsy tells them through the song “The Black Widower’s Blues,” from Gold Side’s 1991 show “No Rhyme… Nor Reason,” that his wife was crushed and killed by Little Miss Muffet. Snow White invites Itsy Bitsy to come with her and Rankin to see the Fairy Godmother. Itsy is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees.
As the other two head off towards the next kingdom, Snow White turns to the audience and says, when she gets to the Fairy Godmother, she will ask her to grant everyone else’s happily-ever-afters.
Violet points out that the play’s villain hasn’t been introduced yet, and the play transitions into its next scene. Set at a meeting of Villainy Anonymous, the play’s group of villains, Captain Hook—played by B.J. Underwood, Cinderella’s stepsisters Ernestine—played by Jenna Bellamy—and Facia—played by Kacie Slaughter Kilpatrick, Willie Wolf—played by Dakota Patrick, and O.U. Money—played by Hannah Jane Sizemore, introduces themself and explain how they’re reforming from their villainous tendencies. O.U. Money also sings “O.U. Money” from Gold Side’s 1983 show “An After Christmas Tale.”
Suddenly, Prince Charming—played by Steven Michael Williams—enters the meeting. When the other villains say that he isn’t a villain and doesn’t belong in the group, he replies that he has turned away from doing good because it feels good to be bad. Prince Charming then convinces the villains to join in on his plot to poison Snow White and the Fairy Godmother with poisoned apple cider and imprison them so they can use the Fairy Godmother’s wishes to grant their own wishes—singing “So/No Good to Be Bad,” from “A Tale of Two Wolves.”
The next scene finds Snow White, Rankin, and Itsy Bitsy in Nottingham, where the village’s residents sing “Back in the ‘Ham” from Gold Side’s 2017 show “A Very Notti Musical” to herald Robin Hood’s return. Robin Hood—played by Jared Max Wright—flirts with Snow White and reveals that he has been dumped by Maid Marian because he is too conceited. As the group begins to leave to continue to The Poison Apple, Snow White turns back to invite Robin Hood along with them. In response he sings “Gold and Glitter,” from Gold Side’s 1987 show “The Fall of Pedivere, the Prancing Paladin,” saying the titular gold and glitter are a metaphor for their happily-ever-afters coming true.
Snow White reveals that she doesn’t know what she wants her happily-ever-after to look like, only what she doesn’t want it to look like. This prompts the three fairies to give her advice, singing “Treat Me Like a Queen” from “The Complex Princess with the Princess Complex or Glass Slippers Give You Blisters.”
Act II opens in The Poison Apple. Tinker Bell is hit by a wave of nostalgia, saying she hasn’t been back to the club since she left Neverland in 2006—prompting her to sing “We’re All Your Friends” from “The Complex Princess with the Princess Complex or Glass Slippers Give You Blisters.”
The group of villains enter the club and rehash their plan to poison Snow White and the Fairy Godmother. Together they sing “Rotten to the Core” from “The Complex Princess with the Princess Complex or Glass Slippers Give You Blisters” to celebrate their villainy.
As the villains take their seats at a table, the protagonists enter the club. In anticipation of meeting the Fairy Godmother, they sing “It’s Magic” from Purple Side’s 1986 show “The Marriage of Pharaoh Goh.” As they sing, the Fairy Godmother, referred to as F.G.M. and played by Mary Reid Howard, enters and continues the song.
It becomes apparent that F.G.M. is a washed-up showman. The groups of protagonists and villains alike realize this as F.G.M. performs her nightclub routine, singing “The Magic Show Medley,” comprised of songs from Purple Side’s 2007 show “The Quixoticians (Kwiks-o-Tish-uns),” Gold Side’s 2010 show “Music and a Dream,” Purple Side’s 1980 show “The Ballad of Saltpeter Flats,” Purple Side’s 1984 show “Nothin’ to Lose,” Purple Side’s 2008 show “The Capital Steps Caper” and Gold Side’s 1969 show “Guises.”
During this medley, F.G.M. downs drinks, fails to pull a rabbit out of a hat and fails to predict what Snow White’s wish is. When Snow White explains her problem to F.G.M., F.G.M. advises her that a good, stiff drink will solve it instead of magic.
As F.G.M. goes backstage to her dressing room, the villains create a new plan. Prince Charming says that Snow White would be nothing without the men in her life and advises the other villains to use the poison apple cider on Rankin, Itsy Bitsy and Robin Hood so that Snow White will give up.
Snow White decides to confront F.G.M. backstage while the other protagonists heed her advice to drink. This leads into “Drinking Song Medley,” sung by the villains and remaining protagonists,” feature songs from Purple Side’s 2010 show “Sly and the Family Stone,” Purple Side’s 1987 show “Second Chance,” Gold Side’s 2005 show “Scout’s Honor” and Gold Side’s 2022 show “The Ballad of the Mississippi River.” Ultimately, this leads to the protagonists drinking the poisoned apple cider and passing out.
In F.G.M.’s dressing room, Snow White tells F.G.M. how far her and her friends have traveled to see her and how much they need her help. F.G.M. says that she still has “one more spell in her tank,” and begins to sing “F.G.M.” from “The Heir Apparent of the Apparent Air or The Prince was a Real Stinker or People Who Wear Glass Slippers Should Not Have Babies.”
As Snow White tells F.G.M. about their problems, however, F.G.M. has an excuse as to why she can’t solve their specific problems but does tell Snow White she can do “one hell of a make-over.”
Suddenly, Violet and Marigold sneak onto stage without Tinker Bell and warn Snow White about her friends. When Snow White questions the villains’ motivations, in a self-aware moment, Violet exclaims, “It’s College Night! Sometimes the villains are just evil!”
Tinker Bell comes on stage and Snow White asks for her and the other fairies’ help. Tinker Bell informs her that they can’t help because they just tell the story, but Snow White encourages her to change the script. Liking this idea, the group devises a plan to stop the villains. This includes getting everyone in the audience to clap and cheer to awaken the sleeping protagonists and a performing a spell that requires the presence of a troll and a witch. At this, a spotlight turned into the audience, landing on two members of Purple Side, Josh Giles and Karly Wilmore, who then head onstage.
As a new scene opens in Prince Charming’s castle, Marigold uses her new narration powers to create a crisis of conscience among the villains, except for Prince Charming who is absent from the group. Together, along with Giles and Wilmore, they sing crowd-favorite song “Do it for the Money” from Purple Side’s 2020 show “Witchful Thinking: One Hex of a Musical or Get Witch or Die Trying or Brew it for the Money” to explain their motivations.
The cheers elicited from the audience in response wake the protagonists up while Snow White and Prince Charming enter. Prince Charming tries to call palace guards to detain Snow White but, when they don’t come, Snow White points out that they liked her better than him.
The fairies order Prince Charming to return to Villainy Anonymous or face the wrath of their magic, but the rest of the villain group ditch him. Then, F.G.M. enters the stage, ordering guards to detain Prince Charming, who is dragged offstage.
The protagonists celebrate finding each other, saying that’s as a good as any happily-ever-after. With this, F.G.M. begins to sing “You’ve Got to Have Imagination” from “No Rhyme… Nor Reason,” with the rest of the ensemble, minus the villains joining in. This leads into the finale song, “A Story to Tell (Reprise)” from “A Tale of Two Wolves.”
Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.