'Of Thee I Sing'

UCF student actors perform in a dress rehearsal of the political satire "Of Thee I Sing" for a small audience Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the day before opening night.

Theatre UCF has began its production of "Of Thee I Sing," a political satire musical originally written in 1931.

The musical, featuring songs by composers George and Ira Gershwin, follows the story of presidential candidate John P. Wintergreen, who agrees to marry any girl that voters choose if he wins the election. But this plan goes awry when he falls in love with someone else.

"Of Thee I Sing" was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama and was praised by the 1932 Pulitzer Prize Committee for being "a biting and true satire on American politics and the public attitude towards them." Some may find that this musical can still relate to today's world, with the show's event page even stating it is "as relevant now as ever."

"There's just a lot of talk of politics today — the good, bad and the ugly, and the show kind of wraps all of that into it," said Maddie Walker, an understudy, assistant choreographer and dance captain. "And although it's a thirties Gershwin piece, it's still hitting the themes that are in today's headlines."

Rehearsals for the production began August 22. According to Walker, nine days of rehearsal were lost because of Hurricane Irma.

"It was a very fast process, especially tech-wise and getting everything together behind the scenes," Walker said. "Thankfully, our actors stayed on top of everything and were able to move quickly and so did all of our technical aspects."

Despite this obstacle, the cast and crew managed to prepare in time for opening night Thursday, Oct. 12. The show got a positive response from audience members, who laughed throughout the show.

"I think that this show is a lot of fun," said Tommy Heller, the assistant director. "And so I'm excited for the audience to just come and laugh at how ridiculous these characters are."

Performances will continue running at the main stage in the Theatre Building at UCF until Sunday, Oct. 22.

"It was a huge learning experience and I think just that everyone is so talented," swing Samantha Jacobson said. "It was really amazing to just watch the whole process."

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