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7 O’Clock Muse Goes Live!

The Muse Scholars soaking up the audience’s applause to cap off an unforgettable showcase night.

Over 100 people filled the seats in Hunter’s Lang Hall the night of April 19th for the annual Muse Showcase, a night of comedy sketches, performances and laughs.

The Muse Showcase lets scholars from the Muse Program, an honors program for students in the art, media and creative writing majors, to showcase their talents. The Muse Showcase has been held each spring for the past 12 years and this year’s performance had the largest turnout, according to the Director of the Muse Scholar Program Dara Meyers-Kingsley. 

The free event was open to Hunter Students and the general public. Friends and family of the performers flooded the seats to cheer them on as they laughed and enjoyed a range of performances for nearly an hour. 

Each Muse Showcase has a different theme as this theme followed a retro news show called “7 O’CLOCK MUSE.” 

“The theme essentially came down to the fact that news rhymes with muse,” said co-director and co-writer Sam Alexander. “A bunch of Muses was trying to find the theme and someone said 7 O’CLOCK MUSE, so we ran with it and started piecing together different elements of a retro news show.” 

Alexander and Kai Barbee-Franco were the driving forces in bringing the Muse Showcase to life. Not only did they direct and write the show together, but they also played the part of the host news anchors. The two also acted in pre-recorded commercials that were screened throughout the show. 

Alexander (left) and Barbee-Franco (right) in the roles of the News Anchor Hosts.

Barbee-Franco also played a person interviewed in a man-on-the-street interview in another pre-recorded video shown to the audience during the show. Alexander and Barbee-Franco said they improvised their performances in the videos. Skits from “Saturday Night Live” helped them channel their performances, they said

Meyers-Kingsley told Alexander and Barbee-Franco they were going to write and direct the show in January. To build upon last year’s showcase, they rewatched it to see how to create a more immersive production. This was the first year Alexander and Barbee-Franco were officially directors and writers, which allowed them to create a more organized show that connected with audiences. 

“The show was wonderful and a good time,” said Alex Huastella, a Culinary student from Long Island. “I can tell there are a lot of creative people here and it seems everybody here is very interconnected.” 

From January until moments before the show set stage, Alexander and Barbee-Franco worked endlessly on perfecting the show. Before anything, the two finished the script within the first month of pre-production. The Anchorman movies, starring Will Ferrell, served as inspiration not only for the show but for Alexander and Barbee-Franco’s performances. 

“The Anchorman movies caught our eyes because of its gaudiness, exaggerated characters, and literal humor,” said Barbee-Franco. “We immediately knew those were things we wanted in our show.” 

Initially, Alexander and Barbee-Franco weren’t set to play the host news anchors, but as they developed the show, they fell into the position of playing these roles. 

The students only had three rehearsals, each one lasting about five hours. Alexander says that the show started to come together during the second rehearsal. 

The showcase turned out to be an unforgettable night for many Muse scholars, including for freshman Mateo Quijada. Quijada has been playing the violin since he was seven-years-old but his performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Violin Concerto in A Minor” at the showcase was the first time he had ever performed in front of an audience.  

Quijada locked in during his performance of “Violin Concerto in A Minor.”

“Leading up to the moment, I wasn’t nervous but as soon as I got on stage, I started shaking,” said Quijada. “I focused on my friends being there to get through my performance.” 

Riveting cheers from the crowd greeted Quijada, as all eyes were on him as he stepped on stage. Once he finished, the enthusiastic reaction from the crowd gave him the assurance he needed. 

Alexander, who was also in charge of video production, describes the videos as his biggest challenge due to the time-consuming editing. However, hearing all the laughs from the audience made the videos all worthwhile. 

In fact, Alexander and Barbee-Franco, who has been acting for nine years, both broke character multiple times.  

Alexander and Barbee-Franco said they eagerly await the next Muse Showcase. 

“Putting these talents together created something special and we wanted people to see our peers inspiring talent,” said Alexander. 

Each person who attended was given a Muse Zine which contains numerous works of literature and art done by Muse Scholars.
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