STORY BY MOLLY ADAMSON
Drake University will be swarming with political figures over the next few months, as the second Democratic Debate will be held on campus on Nov. 14. Candidates flock to Iowa, trying to get people’s vote.
The Drake Theater Department is banking on that buzz with their performance of “Fiorello!” a musical based off the life of Fiorello LaGuardia, one of New York City’s most famous mayors.
The musical follows Fiorello’s life, from his years as a young man fighting in World War I to a successful politician.
The play spans about 18 years, starting in 1916 and ending in the mid-1930s. In this amount of time, the actors are able to tell the true ups and downs of their real- life characters.
Junior musical theatre student Allison Buol plays Fiorello’s wife Thea.
“I think it’s fun to do a musical that takes over such a long period of time, because then I can really experience a full character journey,” Buol said. “I get to start as this girl who is fighting for women’s rights, fall in love, watch him come back from war and then get married. I really get to feel this full range of emotions.”
Karla Kash, the head of musical theatre for Drake University and the director of the play, spoke of her appreciation for the history the play brings.
“I love doing theater that is non-fiction,” Kash said. “It’s great for our students because they get to do a lot of research and really delve into that history. We actually started rehearsals with two days of each actor doing a presentation on themes surrounding the show. Doing a show like this in an educational setting really adds another layer in educational component that is really important to us.”
Buol was just as excited as her director to be a part of this play.
“There are a lot of good female parts in this show. I was excited about that prospect going into auditions, knowing that there were a lot of female opportunities,” Buol said. “It’s really cool to be able to do a Pulitzer Prize-winning show, because there’s only eight musicals that won the award. Just the fact that it’s actually a historical story is really cool. We’re telling a true story that happened about a real person who has a New York airport named after them. It’s exciting to have something like that on my resume.”
Sophomore Nathan Smith plays the role of Fiorello.
“It’s been interesting because this was the first character that I’ve ever played that was an actual real-life person,” Smith said. “It’s changed my perception on creating a character but still holding the integrity of them as a person, while still having my own creative artistic approach to the character. That’s such an important part of theater, to create a character. It’s about finding the nice balance between who they actually were and at the same time you are putting on a musical, and it’s like that Broadway style that you have to put on. It’s just about making sure you have both of those parts.”
Theplaywillbeachallengefor the actors to portray moments in history that actually happened. They will face that challenge in front of an audience. “Fiorello!” will begin playing Nov. 19-22 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Nov. 22. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens.