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Leading the Pack: Overview of the Spring Musical

MVNU’s spring play, “Leader of the Pack: The Ellie Greenwich Musical opens on Thursday.

However, much of the student body has never heard of this musical.

Nick DeWalt, a director of the play alongside Carrie Vail, said it is “a performance to look forward to.” “Leader of the Pack” follows the life and musical career of Ellie Greenwich, “telling the story of her life from when she started music as a little girl.”

The musical is a nonfiction story, following the real lives of Ellie and other musicians of her time, spanning the ‘50s to the early ‘90s.

All of the music that is used is written by Ellie or Jeff Barry, another musician prominent in the musical.

“We haven’t done a full-fledged musical like this in five years, since “Anything Goes,” in 2013, said DeWalt, which is one of the reasons for performing it.

“A lot of the music is well-known. Older community members would have grown up with these songs,” he said.

Junior Becca Jamison, assisting with set design for the musical, said “We’re hoping to make it a truly psychedelic experience to embrace Ellie’s time and era.”

DeWalt said having two directors has played a large part in putting together such a large production.

“Having two directors, sometimes our visions aren’t exactly in sync,” DeWalt said, but the two directors have worked together before, “and we’ve had a lot of the same ideas for stuff. It’s a collaboration.”

The four major singing roles of Ellie Greenwich, Annie Golden, Darlene Love and Jeff Barry are played by Alexis Burke, Alyssa Bales, Rachel Rinehart and Allen Terwilliger.

Terwilliger, a junior, is the only returning actor on the cast, having appeared before in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Cosi Fan Tuti” and “The Magic Flute.”

Rinehart has been involved in theater before, but this will be her first MVNU musical. Burke and Bales are both freshmen.

“I am excited to perform a role of such depth in a show that contains music that will be sure to get every person in the room tapping their foot and maybe even singing along to their favorite ‘50s or ‘60s hits,” Terwilliger said.

DeWalt said the newness of the cast worried him at first, but that they have “blown me away with how far they’ve come.”

Most of this cast will be here for the next several years, so he encourages students interested in the faces of the MVNU theater to come and get excited about the new talents.

“Come see it,” he said. “It’ll be fun, and one of the best shows we’ve put on.”

Tickets for the show cost $10 for adults, and $8 for those with MVNU or military IDs, or children under 18.

The show plays Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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