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Club Spotlight: Little Theater

By Daeshyon Riley, Features Contributor

Despite the destruction of Lyons Hall and the Marie Maday Theatre, the previous home of Canisius College’s Little Theatre, the club carried on. These obstacles didn’t stop the club from working hard towards putting on another successful production, and this weekend they will be performing “Grease: The Musical.”

Originally, Little Theatre was not planning on their spring musical being “Grease.” Instead, they had an entirely different plan to put on a production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” but the destruction of Lyons Hall meant their costumes, props, sets and furniture were gone, too. They had to start from the ground up and the idea of “Grease” in concert was born, later becoming a full-blown musical.

Little Theatre typically performs two shows per semester with a musical as the first show of the spring. In a typical timeline, Little Theatre rehearses a show in roughly five to six weeks, but “Grease” was put together in two months. Little Theatre President Brianna Propis said, “I was really excited when I came up with the idea for ‘Grease.’ I love that show, and my parents love that show, and I imagined that a lot of people would be familiar with that show. ‘Grease’ was not the original plan, but once we got it rolling, we just ran with it.”

Without Lyons Hall, the production has been impacted a lot. Usually, Propis explained, it’s easy for Little Theatre to make a schedule for the full show when they know where rehearsals will be held and that they’ll have access to all the space and materials that they may need. This year’s crew had it much harder, though. The team has been rehearsing primarily in the chapel and frequently find themselves on the second level of the Student Center if the chapel is booked.

Propis continued, “We're kinda sorta like a traveling circus right now. Every day we have to bring all of our costumes and props and people from various parts of campus and bring them to our practice space. We are pretty much using our club room as a storage room. So it looks like a lovely closet filled with all of our ‘Grease’ love. We run our times by [Campus Ministry Director Spencer Liechty] every week. He has been so generous to us using the space we rehearse. Every part of campus has seen something about ‘Grease.’”

Casting decisions are made based on the actor’s voice and ability to fit the character’s presence. “For ‘Grease,’ primarily it was whose voice fit that character the best, who felt most like their characters in their songs [and] just the way they deliver it and the way their voice sounds,” Propis explained. “It just feels right. I can't imagine it being cast differently. I think everyone has fulfilled their roles from day one, and they’ve only grown in their roles since.” This being Propis’s last year at Canisius, she noted the strong sense of community she’s felt surrounding this show. She also said that the passion of the people in the club are what she loves most about Little Theatre.

Little Theatre’s performance of “Grease” will be showing Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. in Montante. And if you can’t get enough of Little Theatre following this performance, there is a play coming up in Grupp at the end of April! Managing to pull off a full academic calendar of shows following an incredibly large setback such as Lyons’ winter damage is beyond beautiful and is truly a testament to the resilience of the club.

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