Theatre Hosts Bat Boy: The Last Performance of the Semester
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Theatre Hosts Bat Boy: The Last Performance of the Semester

     This weekend, audiences will be transported back to the 1960s when they see Bat Boy: The Musical. Jamie Lennon, a junior theatre studies major, plays the leading role of Bat Boy. 

     “Bat Boy is a half-human half-bat hybrid,” Lennon said. “He goes through a journey throughout the show of what it’s like to be a human.”

     Meg Cook, a junior musical theatre major, plays a variety of roles in Bat Boy. She plays the roles of Mrs. Taylor, Roy and Reverend Billie Hightower. 

     “I’ve never played three characters before,” Cook said. “It’s not necessarily hard switching back and forth between characters. Just prepping myself for the different mindsets, different physicality and how each character carries themselves compared to another one is something new.” 

     For Kaeli Vondra, a freshman musical theatre major, this is her first time in a production at the University of South Dakota. She plays the role of Meredith Parker, the mother of Shelly. Performing at a college level has been a new experience for Vondra. 

     “This is a very special and caring experience than all of the other productions that I’ve been in throughout my career,” Vondra said. “I am super grateful to be given a large role in my first production in college. It’s semi-similar to doing theater in high school with going to class and then having four hours of rehearsals. While it can be super draining, it’s so rewarding.”

     Like Vondra pointed out, rehearsals for shows usually take hours. Junior musical theatre major Vivien Klein plays Shelly Parker in Bat Boy and agrees with Vondra’s point. 

     “We rehearse 20 hours a week on top of a full class schedule, so it’s tough to find free time,” Klein said. “This is also a very physically and vocally demanding show.”

     Lennon also deals with the physical challenges in his role as Bat Boy. 

     “The role is physically demanding, with doing a lot of work embodying Bat Boy’s origin to grow more and more like a human,” Lennon said. “Starting with a journey of going from bat to human and starting to find the nuances of Bat Boy has been rewarding, but also challenging. I am giving my entire body and mind to the role itself, and it’s been such a rewarding experience.”

     While the show does have its challenges, the actors still find ways to create memories and have fun while rehearsing. 

     “My favorite memory would have to be the first readthrough of the show,” Lennon said. “I’ve worked with all of these talented members of the cast to see the show come to life just when reading through the script. From that moment, it keeps getting more and more of what the show is like today, and I couldn’t be more grateful to work with the entire cast and crew of Bat Boy.”

     Through all of the challenges of rehearsal and memories that these actors and actresses have made, these students are proud of their work and want audiences to come see the show.

     “This show seems crazy at first, but it is truly a must-see,” Klein said. “It will make you laugh until you’ve just got to cry and it will make you cry until you’ve just got to laugh. The lights and scenery look so amazing and the music rocks. This show has something for everyone.”

     Bat Boy will take place on April 18-20 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 2 p.m. in the Knutson Theatre at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Tickets are free for students with their ID and $15 for the general public.