Staff Writer, Arts Section
The year-opening OBU talent show Barnum & Biggie’s musical acts hit a definitive high note.
OBU’s College Activities Board hosted its annual “Biggie” talent show, directed by Jonny Ball and Josh Pumphrey, 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.
Throughout the show, a simple but effective layout of tents upstage of the primary performance space, effectively underscored the night’s theme: “Barnum & Biggie.”
The performance featured four musical talent acts: Kalyne & James; Four Chords & A Beat; Brad & His Gorls; and Adamantine.
The evening’s Stage Band provided live transition music during set changes between acts and skits.
The skill set they presented was equal to that of any featured act, and their inclusion on stage allowed the show to continue moving forward seamlessly as equipment transitions took place on other parts of the stage.
Morgan Cherry, Marcellous Hawkins and Sydnie Randolph traded off as lead vocalists for the Stage Band, with Jerrett Richardson on drums, Graham Griffin on keys, Jordan Richardson on acoustic guitar, Karl/Wes Evans on bass and Demarcus Baysmore on electric guitar.
The emcees performed skits between musical numbers that were themed around the hit 2017 film “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya and featured Keala Settle.
Spiraling red and white show lighting illuminated Stage Band’s opening performance of “The Greatest Show” from the “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack, which set the pace for the well-executed musical performances that followed.
Musical duo Kalyne & James’ performed a simple Bastille cover with only piano, cello and voice.
A short skit introduced the emcee’s characters to the audience.
The stage band performed a cover of Andra Day’s “Rise Up” led by vocalist Morgan Cherry who brought a beautiful sense of throaty richness to the song.
The piece’s mood brought up echoes of “The Greatest Showman” themes from the songs “Never Enough” or “This Is Me.”
Then after more from the emcees, Four Chords & A Beat took the stage and performed a cover of “Walking on Wire” by Imagine Dragons with enormous energy during the piece’s musical break.
After a brief intermission where popcorn and drinks were available, an emcee skit followed.
A video featuring the emcees displayed fictional talent auditions for the talent show.
The talent auditions included some creative ideas, like an impressive clip of a student rapidly stacking cups into and out of pyramids while reciting Ka-Rip.
Brad & His Gorls were the first musical act to perform after intermission and their acoustic style was a nice contrast from rock style performance of Four Chords & A Beat.
Then the stage band returned with a grooving rendition of “Start A Fire” from “La La Land.”
Marcellous Hawkins led vocals, and the song featured several instrumental solos including a keys solo by Graham Griffin.
The show soon returned to musical material, with the stage band performing Rihanna’s “Take A Bow,” tying clearly back to the circus and showmanship themes of “The Greatest Showman.”
Numerous video skits interspersed throughout the show helped ease the technical transition process, alongside the stage band.
The night’s final musical talent act, “Adamantine,” brought a unique show choir approach to Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.”
Beginning with a stripped back, smooth version, the performance faded out and then burst to full jazzy life.
By costuming their singers in simple black fringed shirts, “Adamantine” emphasized the basic dance movements the singers performed.
The stage band closed off the night with “From Now On” from “The Greatest Showman” for the show’s curtain call.