By Kate Doctor and Hannah Krieger
Staff Writer and A&E Editor
When I walked into the Lab Theatre on Sunday to see “Last Night Karaoke,” I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. I figured that there would be singing since, obviously, the word “karaoke” is involved in the title. As I prepared to watch the play, I liked how the actors moved around on stage as if it was a normal night at the bar and not the last night. The relaxed and entertaining pre-show performance provided an authentic feel to the karaoke bar. The community that was built between the actors was clearly exhibited through their interactions before the show.
To give a brief synopsis before I go into too much detail, “Last Night Karaoke” is about a bar that is about to be sold to make way for a wine emporium due to the retirement of the owner’s father. It is the bar’s last night, and the owner, Nick, is putting on a karaoke contest with a $1,000 prize for first place. Throughout the night, we get to see what the bar meant to many of its regulars, and how it brought a group of diverse people together. Those who took the mic on stage delivered highly talented performances.
Elizabeth Maines gave a powerful performance of “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart.” Shay McCleavy claimed the $1,000 prize with his energetic and flirty performance of “Fly Me to the Moon.” Taylor Dillion enchanted the audience with her sweet voice when she crooned to the song “Wagon Wheel.”
I highly enjoyed the play, from the humorous musings of Melvis, played by Alex Caudill, to the stern jealousy of Shelia (played by Liz Duccilli) when she catches her boyfriend who has a wandering eye for one of the karaoke singers. And, of course, Ariel Wren doesn’t fail to impress with her beautiful rendition of “Holding out for a Hero,” playing Jenny, a waitress at the bar. When Nick overhears Jenny singing karaoke for the first time, he decides not to sign the contract to change the bar into a wine emporium after all, thus providing an exciting twist to the end of the play. Overall, I found the play to be a wonderful mixture of comedy and sadness, a call to remind us of what is really important in life.