Arts and Entertainment

The Final Bow of Senior SING!

The Spectator reviews Senior SING!.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Cover Image
By Matt Melucci

Flashing lights. Bombarding paparazzi. The Early Early Show with Timmy Falcon. This is the world of Senior SING!’s Hollywood.

Coordinated by first-timer Sara Stebbins and produced by Lena Farley, Clarise Khan, Debi Saha, and Ahmed Sultan, the show’s opening scene takes us to the Hollywood red carpet premiere of “Working Title,” a vampire teen comedy self-described as “a blend of coming-of-age, Bollywood, horror, and romance all at once.” The film is directed by first-time director Rowan Carter (Cecilia Bechana), who obsessively tries to prove her merit and detach her work from her father’s name. She hopes to accomplish this by winning Best Picture at the People’s Choice Awards. Through the spectators that walk down the red carpet, we are creatively introduced to each of the dance crews, which are accompanied by flashing cameras and unbridled excitement. This opening scene builds up the excitement and high hopes for Senior SING!’s dance crews, which certainly live up to their expectations.

The leads of “Working Title,” Skye (Zeynep Bromberg) and Frankie (Noa Greenstein)— who are constantly bombarded with dating rumors and ship names (#SKANKIE)—as well as Jordan (Victoria Wong) and Toby (Connor Oh) lead us through the glitz and glamour of stardom. Senior SING!’s Hollywood is all too similar to our own, with icons such as Pre Malone, Probability the Rapper, Kanye East, and Tyler, the Destroyer. But above all, this Hollywood has the same prying eyes of the public and the dark realities of celebrity life.

A superfan (Emily Rubinstein), who has a dream of stardom and a psychotic persona, dons a pair of rollerblades and attempts to befriend Skye on the red carpet. When slighted after security is called to restrain her, she soon hatches a plan to kidnap all the stars. Rubinstein fully embraces her wacky character, her energy and stage presence even exceeding her outlandish costume and makeup.

The paparazzi hounding the “Working Title” stars suddenly transform into Hip-hop, with Oh rapping in the spotlight. Oh is also integrated directly into the Hip-hop choreography, providing a seamless transition from song to dance. But at the conclusion of the routine, Oh becomes the first kidnapee of Superfan via paper bagging.

Afterward, the stage is rapidly transformed into a party venue. Here, we are introduced to Pamplemousse Lacroix (Emma Linderman), whose pretentious character serves mainly as a not-so-subtle jab at Junior SING!. Latin dancers, who have been stationed as party-goers, slide across the stage when mini-burgers are introduced as “sliders.” Their performance is solid, incorporating impressive stunts and lifts. However, the chaos their performance creates gives Superfan the perfect opportunity to make Jordan her second abductee of the night.

We cut to Superfan’s lair, where Toby and Jordan are being held hostage with Rubinstein frantically skating around the stage on rollerblades, adding a feeling of unease to the already tense scene. Superfan and Jordan face off in a powerful rendition of “Take Me or Leave Me,” showcasing stage veterans Rubinstein and Wong’s outstanding vocals.

Meanwhile, a romantically frustrated Skye is consoled by Frankie under a glowing lamp post, revealing that the co-stars are truly a couple but are concealing their relationship in fear of the tabloids’ inevitable response. A sea of tourists interrupts their moment, and Skye and Frankie are confronted with endless questions about their relationship, which they fervently refute. Step is seamlessly integrated into this scene, surprising the audience with the realization that the onlookers of the romantic moment were the dancers the whole time. The step crew floods the entire stage, stunning the audience with their intense synchronization and Senior SING! victory chants.

In a brisk transition, we find ourselves in preparation for the cast’s appearance on the Early Early Show with Timmy Falcon (Adam Cohen) despite the disappearance of two of their stars. Tap positions themselves as makeup artists, creatively using chairs in their formations.

The Early Early Show with Timmy Falcon finally starts, with Cohen playing a deranged and sleep-deprived titular host—a Red Bull always in hand—and immediately offending Rowan by mentioning her father. Here, Rowan’s insecurities are evident and painful to watch, especially as it becomes clear that at this point in the show, her priorities lie solely in her own success rather than the wellbeing of her cast. However, it isn’t the complicated inner conflict that Rowan displays that makes the moment such a stand out. Cohen and his irrational antics steal the scene, proving that the senior writers do have the capacity to make well-formed and memorable characters.

After the brief interview, Falcon cuts to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Shen Yun commercial performed by Kevin Lu, which proves to be a comical highlight of the show. We then rapidly segue to the trailer of “Working Title” with modern donning red capes, which is confusing until it is clarified that these dancers are vampires, the supposed focus of the film. Modern creatively incorporate their silk red capes and include impressive stunts. The Bollywood dance crew (a team unique to Senior SING!) and a special highlight of Fahim Rahman singing in Hindi serve as a second section of the lengthy “Working Title” trailer.

Once we return from the trailer, a third cast member—Frankie—is kidnapped, leading to utter chaos in the packed studio audience. Despite feeling like she’s hit rock bottom, a soulful duet of “When I Was Your Man” between Bromberg and Bechana, accompanied by cello music from Nick Jun, reassures Carter that “Working Title” will succeed and that the abducted cast members will be found.

Skye quickly formulates a plan to save her co-stars. She takes a GPS disguised as a glittery silver fanny pack with her as she confronts Superfan and demands that she be taken to her friends “Princess Bride” style. But when they arrive at her lair, Skye is immediately restrained by the henchmen, and Superfan reveals her wicked motives to her former idol. We then transition to belly performing their eerie yet entrancing routine as life-size dolls to a violin solo by Minjun Seo.

In a moment of poor writing, the paparazzi foils Superfan’s kidnapping plan thanks to Skye’s GPS tracker, but this crucial plot point fails to deliver the first time watching, leaving us initially confused as to how the cast was found and freed. With Superfan finally arrested, Skye finally reveals her relationship with Frankie to the public, putting their love in the spotlight despite her initial fears. Flow dances as Frankie and Skye confess their love to each other, belting “Never Enough.” Despite a few minor fumbles, flow’s performance captivates the audience and captures the romantic ambiance of the scene.

Senior SING! concludes with all the characters reunited and attending the People’s Choice Awards with a new outlook on life. Though the ending varied from night to night (particularly on Friday, when the show went overtime and the final scene was not performed), the final sentiment stayed constant throughout: “Working Title” wins the Best Picture award and everybody gets a happy ending. This heartwarming yet predictable conclusion is accompanied by balloons and confetti, making for a somewhat cliche but satisfying wrap-up.

Despite its star-studded cast, Senior SING! often falls flat with its character development. While the show mimics the nature of Hollywood well with its superficial and conceited characters, their superfluous antics straddle the line between comedy and cringe at times, almost tiring the viewer by the end of the hour. Superfan’s chaotic personality adds color to the stage but is arguably not enough to make up for the one-dimensional characters scattered across the plot. Rowan, who is intended to overcome her insecurities about her father’s legacy and ultimately grow from her experiences, fails to convince the viewer otherwise with her uneven character development.

On the flip side, Senior SING!’s dance crews and lighthearted aspects steal the show. From Jordan’s upside-down mushroom dress to the Shen Yun commercial break as well as the limo ride on scooters, Senior SING! showcases many fun and engaging elements that elevate their performance and the audience’s engagement. In addition, their lively crews—especially step and swing—tie together all the moving parts of the plot and provide seamless transitions between the ever-changing sets.

The highlights of Senior SING!, however, are the musical performances from the La La Band and the cast. The band, which cleverly comes onstage during the Early Early Show and instrumentals, provides a strong foundation for powerhouse singers Bromberg, Rubinstein, Greenstein, Wong, and Bechana. Their jaw-dropping performances, especially “Take Me or Leave Me,” demonstrate the raw vocal talent of the senior class, which will surely be missed during the next SING! season.

With so many characters taking up the stage and only an hour of showtime, it’s inevitable that several will be one-note. But where Senior SING! might lack in plot and character depth, it shines in complex set design, exceptional music, and well-integrated and spirited dances. The various whims of Senior SING! successfully transport us to the vibrant, vapid culture of Hollywood, where showers of confetti and waving glow sticks create a night to be remembered.