Drake University Theatre Arts presents “It Shoulda Been You” written by Barbara Anslemi and Brian Hargrove at 7:30 p.m. Mar 31- Apr 2 and at 2:00 p.m. Apr 3 in the Performing Arts Hall at the Harmon Fine Arts Center. Face coverings are not required, but encouraged for audience members.
“It Shoulda Been You” will be the first Drake Theatre musical of the spring semester and tells the story of two comically different families who come together for a wedding celebration where anything is possible.
Director, Adam Yankowy explains the dynamic story found in “It Shoulda Been You” and its significance within the professional theatre world.
“This show is a fun musical farce centered around a wedding that has so many twists and turns,” Yankowy said. “You will laugh and cry in this new musical written by Barbara Anselmi, a female composer– something that is rare in the musical theatre industry.”
The cast of “It Shoulda Been You” had the rare opportunity to listen to Anselmi talk about her writing process for the characters, songs, and plot of the musical.
“I have loved the process so far of diving into this story and having so much insider knowledge into the process,” Yankowy said. “Barbara has offered to speak with students and be an asset throughout this process. It is truly an amazing experience for our students.”
Drake Theatre students have expanded their vocal capabilities throughout the rehearsal process such as Dina Perez, portraying the female lead, Jenny Steinburg.
“Vocally, I’m excited to explore my belting side and play around more… I was proud when I did the callback of this song and got the role, and I can’t wait to hone in to the best it can be,” Perez said.
“It Shoulda Been You” features a wide variety of musical numbers from power ballads to ensemble quartets. Drake performer Ben Jaeger has used this experience to sharpen his dancing skills.
“I’m spending a lot of time working on my tap feature in the show,” Jaeger said. “It’s something new for me to be doing on-stage and I am excited to keep improving my tap ability.”
A major theme of “It Shoulda Been You” centers on identity and the judgment from others that comes with it. Drake Senior, Niaa Dowell elaborates on the challenges these characters go through in this musical.
“There are many themes in this play from body image and fatphobia, to homophobia and complicated family issues… I think this show encourages people to be brave and embrace self love because at the end of the day, there’s only one you,” Dowell said.