LMNOP- A New Musical hits TUTS Underground

Jasmine Garza, Editor-in-Chief

LMNOP– A New Muzical made its debut at the TUTS Underground stage in Zilka Hall on April 7 bringing the novel of Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, alive.  The performance brought about the right amount of laughs and seriousness in order to make you feel thankful for the liberties we have.

With music by Paul Loesel and book and lyrics by Scott Burkell, the performance started with Ella Minnow Pea, played by Madeline Trumble, contemplating her life on the island of Nollop until Nate Warren, played by Jared Zirilli,returns to the island and shows her his phone, a piece of technology she has never seen before.

As the members of the island are gathered together they begin their opening piece, Little Island, in the middle of town where the monument of the great Nevin Nollop resides with his 36 letter pangram, a sentence involving all letters of the alphabet in one sentence, The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog. As the members of the island are singing, the letter Z falls from the word lazy causing the elected officials to believe the fall of the letter Z is a sign from Nollop himself that the letter Z should no longer be used in any form of communication if you are over the age of 11.

With the town’s new rule come new consequences for those who use words with the letter Z. The first offense a warning, the second offense a beating and the third offense is banishment from the island.

As the island believes speaking without the letter Z will be easy, they throw a party for the letter Z, but disastrous moments follow when more letters begin to fall each time limiting their vocabulary.

Although the leads were strong vocally and with their acting, the show could have had a quicker pace.  As some parts dragged out a little keeping you struggling to pay attention.

The level of hard work and remembrance each member of the cast had to maintain once a letter was banned kept them on their toes. By the end of the musical the only letters to remain were LMNOP making it quite hard for Ella and the remaining sixth grader Eugenia Prather, played by Erin Cearlock, to communicate.

“Just today we were staging a scene, writers still making little cuts, little edits so we make certain we don’t use letters that have already been banned and one of the difficult things about this show for the actors, if we don’t remember our lines word for word, we’re in big trouble. Because we can’t kind of create things in the moment because we might be using an illegal letter. That’s what’s so brilliant that the characters are so frustrated because they can’t use the words they want,” cast member Jason Gotay said.

Enterprise 32 becomes a project involving most of the main characters where they are required to create a 32-letter pangram in order to be able to use all of their letters once again.

As the time approaches for Enterprise 32 to be completed, mother Geogeanne Towgate, played by Michele Ragusa, shot herself and son Timmy Towgate, played by Scott Fonsenka, as they were unwilling to accept the change back to how it use to be.

The scene with Geogeanne and Timmy was quite surprising, as I was not expecting them to just be gone. It created a sudden serious effect to the play that did not quite fit with the rest of the play as it incorporated laughter, romance and government control.