Last weekend, the College’s student-run theater group, Powder and Wig, put on its final performance of the semester. It chose a classic, Singin’ in the Rain, to light up Page Commons during these dreary, dark days.
The show, by all accounts, was a smashing success, well deserved after all the effort the cast and crew put into it. They worked on the show for three months, culminating in two incredible shows.
Singin’ in the Rain was directed by Ella Abisi `25, marking her first time directing and choreographing a full-length musical.
“I loved every second of this process. The tech team, cast, and entire company brought such positivity into my everyday life. The choreography was a little challenging due to the number of people in the cast, as well as finding a time when everyone was available; however, I was happy to get to know everyone involved. Being my first time as a choreographer and having dance be such an important aspect of Singin’ in the Rain, I kind of threw myself into the deep end. I think all of the hard work paid off, and I wouldn’t change anything about the production,” Abisi said.
Bevan Fogdall `24 is president of the club. They were the music director for Singin’ in the Rain as well as a production singer. They have directed several shows during their tenure in the club and are well acquainted with how a Powder and Wig production works.
“My favorite part of any Powder and Wig show is getting to work with incredibly talented, committed performers and crew members. As the music director of Singin’ in the Rain, I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of talented singers who are committed to putting on the best show possible. It’s really inspiring to see their passion and excitement about the show!” they said.
Along with putting on amazing shows, the commitment Powder and Wig gives its craft should not be discounted. It put on every show itself, with only the passion of students driving it forward.
“Powder and Wig is unique because it’s completely student-led! Everything from directing, to tech, to acting is done by students. This makes Powder and Wig a super welcoming and accessible environment. However, all our club members are super committed, and everyone works really hard to make each show great! It’s always inspiring to see how much everyone puts into each performance,” Fogdall said.
Ira Mukherjee `25 was the stage manager for the performance and echoed Fodgall’s sentiment.
“Powder and Wig is a completely student-run organization, so basically everything that you see on stage and everything that goes on behind the scenes is run through the passion and dedication of students. It’s really nice when people come to see that and acknowledge that work by the students as a Colby community,” Mukherjee said.
However, their commitment is often put to the test because of the challenges they face, from the labor that goes into creating a show to the fact that everyone involved is unpaid.
“It was a long, hard process. Singin’ in the Rain is not an easy show. It took quite a few months of planning, rehearsing, and the actual production process. It was really just a huge effort by about 30 people. It was a huge push from everyone,” Mukherjee said.
“Something folks should know about P&W is that the opportunities we provide would be impossible without huge amounts of student labor. Nobody in our club receives any compensation for their work, despite the fact that our board members, directors, and stage managers put in hours and hours of work each week to make shows that are fun for audiences, performers, and crew members. These people choose to take on these labor-intensive roles because they love theater and the community we have created around it. I think it’s important for our club members and audiences to be grateful to these leaders — their jobs are not easy, but they are incredibly rewarding,” Fogdall said.
Along with the lack of compensation, Powder and Wig has to navigate other challenges while creating their shows.
“It’s definitely evident that some of the folks we work with here don’t fully understand our needs. We’ve had budget issues, as well as issues with securing the spaces we need for performances. It can be especially hard to get access to Strider Theater, so we almost always have to use spaces that aren’t really designed for theater performances. I think P&W as a club is really creative and resilient, and we navigate our lack of resources very competently,” Fogdall said.
Despite the challenges that Powder and Wig had to navigate through the process of bringing Singin’ In the Rain to life, everyone was happy with both the final production and the turnout.
“I think that Powder and Wig is an organization that is really run off of student dedication and that really shone through in Singin’ in the Rain. I’m glad we got such a good turnout for the show and that people were there to acknowledge our effort,” Mukherjee said.
And, if you have any hesitations about attending their next show, Fogdall has some more reasons to prove what a hard-working group they are and one that we are lucky to have on our campus.
“I think Colby students should attend Powder and Wig performances for two big reasons: they are super fun, and they’re free! Free theater performances are rare because it’s expensive to even get the rights to perform these shows. I think Colby students should take advantage of the opportunity to experience live theater. Attending performances is also a great way to support your peers and the College community. I often feel that the arts are undervalued at Colby, but when we get huge crowds at our performances, it shows that the student body is really invested,” Fogdall said.
~ Mairead Levitt `25