If there has ever been a time to have big theater kid energy, that time is now. The optimism! The earnestness! The resilience! The high kicks! We here at The A.V. Club, many of us former (or, let’s face it, current) theater kids ourselves, are zero percent surprised that the new senior class in the University Of Michigan’s musical theater department somehow managed to make a 16-minute video comprised of topical musical parodies and intense choreography in These Troubled Times. (We are also not surprised that they used it as an opportunity to raise money to support the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation; the kids, they’re alright.)
What does surprise us is that even peak theater kid energy can’t escape the slow descent into madness that will surely come for us all—assuming it hasn’t already. And frankly, that’s a big assumption, given where we’re at with Pizza Huts and Diplo and T-Swift theme parks and staring into space and Murder, She Wrote swag and Nickelodeon and and and just here, watch the thing.
These talented youths! They’re losing their minds!
Watching this video, it seems as if it will never end, just like the pandemic. Just when you think they could not add another chapter, they do, just like the pandemic. The arrival of Hamilton is inevitable, just like the pandemic. There are many references to masks and Zoom and whatnot, just like the pandemic. And it grows increasingly surreal moment by moment, from the tapping to the perfect layouts to the laptop dance to the moment at which the distinctive strains of “Lady Marmalade” kick in and one might go truly, finally, irrevocably round the bend. Look at these faces—so young, so fresh, so cheerily attempting to pretend they’re not balanced on a knife’s edge, so hopeful that somehow theater as an art form will not die before they can land that regional production of Steel Pier.
Keep tapping, youths. We’re so proud of you.
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