Drop of a Hat players show AU’s got talent

By Glenn Battishill

The Drop of a Hat Players perform an annual show put on by the Ashland University department of theatre that showcases members of the arts departments. This year’s show took place April 16 in the Studio Theatre.

Starting the show was the entire cast in a rendition of “Heart and Magic” from the show “A New Brain,” which neatly set the mood for the entire show.

Brandy Riha then performed “Begin the Beguine” by composer Cole Porter. Her performance was heartfelt and sincere, connecting instantly to the audience.

Performing the song “C’est Moi” from “Camelot” was Drew Rothhaar, who drew a lot of laughs and applause from the crowd as he danced across the floor.

The next two songs flowed seamlessly from Jacob Poiner’s “April Showers” to Riha’s “A Cockeyed Optimist.” The brief moments when the two shared the stage were excellent and well performed.

Emily Jeppesen followed their performance with the song “Morning Person” from “Shrek” and nailed it, giving the audience a great performance as well as putting smiles on their faces.

Next up was Emily Plank with a spirited version of “Johnny One Note” from “Babes in Arms” that got the crowd laughing.

After that was an amazing duet between Helena Marshall and Rothhaar as they performed a sweet, simple and calm rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

Katie Mounts then took the spotlight to deliver a charismatic version of “My Funny Valentine” from “Babes in Arms.” Her vocals were excellent and the song was very well done.

Performing “When I Look at You” from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” was Madeline Beer, which was excellent and segued easily to the next big ensemble song.

The entire cast met onstage for “Hot Chocolate” from “Polar Express” and the cast really got into their performance, making it fun for the audience too.

A personal favorite of mine was Derek Jackenheimer and Jordan Black performing an awesome duet of “Lily’s Eyes” from “Secret Garden.” Their performance was chilling and utterly brilliant.

Mounts then performed an emotionally sweet version of “Mama Who Bore Me” from “Spring Awakening,” hypnotizing the audience with her mesmerizing voice.

Taylor Hale, who had been in many other songs in some capacity, took the lead on “We Kiss in a Shadow” from “The King and I” and was simply stunning.

Rothhaar returned to the center stage and led all the players in a hilariously fun performance of “Brotherhood of Men” from “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Christina Neely took the stage and beautifully sang “Everything I Know” from “In the Heights.” Her performance was genuine and wonderful.

Following Neely was Kelsey Bowens expertly performing “A Change in Me” from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Easily one of the contenders for crowd favorite was Beer’s “My Party Dress” from “Henry and Mudge.” Beer’s high energy and silly nature made this song fun to watch.

Marshall then performed “Show Off” from “The Drowsy Chaperone” and was very active in her performance, moving across the whole stage and into the seats at a few moments.

Plank returned for a final time and led the cast during her performance of “Never Never Land” from “Peter Pan,” leaving only Japhael Bondurant in the spotlight. Bondurant then sang a soulful and powerful rendition of “Home” from “The Wiz.”

The cast returned finally for an amazing and flawless performance of “One Day More” from “Les Misérables,” ending on a fantastic note.

Overall, the show was stunning, beautifully showing off all of the talent that Ashland students have. Director Fabio Polanco and choreographer Brittany Hartman guided the talented students to perform an excellent and nearly perfect show.

However, the unsung hero of the entire event was music director Eddie Carney, who relentlessly backed up the main cast on the piano and played with both emotion and raw skill.

The Drop of a Hat Players’ annual show is an excellent chance for students to witness their peers’ superior talent and shouldn’t be missed next time they perform.