PLU Education Sets the Stage

By Eddie McCoven, Guest Writer

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Senior Alex Gallo performs as Jamie in rehearsal for ACT 1 Theatre Production “The Last Five Years” in Sumner, Wash., on Feb. 5. Photo: E. McCoven

ACT 1 Theatre Productions is currently putting on performances of “The Last Five Years.” What’s unique about this production is not just the giddy music that envelopes this sorrowful story, but that Pacific Lutheran University students and alumni are working together on this show.

“PLU Students are the most professional, even under pressure… Full of grace” said Petra Karr, a PLU alumna.

For most of her shows at ACT 1, a black box theater company in Sumner, Wash., she intentionally reaches out to Lutes in the School of Arts and Communication.

“I like being able to draw [talent] from where I trained,” Karr said. “I hope they will continue to be part of our productions even after they graduate.”

Karr, who now has a daughter studying at PLU, has been acting and directing in theatrical productions since she was 16. She attributes her success in directing after completing her education to the outstanding faculty she studied under and the many performance opportunities at PLU.

Amy Boers is in charge of the music for this show. Boers is a familiar coach and accompanist to both vocalists and instrumentalists in the PLU music department. She has been working with student performers at PLU for about five years.

Boers helped to recruit current Lutes for the show to provide the musical accompaniment: sophomore Clay Snell, guitar; first-year North Foulon, violin and junior Piper Foulon, cello.

Senior Alex Gallo is the musical’s male lead. Gallo, who sings in Choir of the West, was invited to audition by Boers because of his previous work with her in the PLU music program.

When asked how his education at PLU had helped to equip him for this role, Gallo said, “The diversity in coursework, specifically the general education core, helped me to understand the character of Jamie, and to better portray him.”

“The Last Five Years” is a contemporary musical chronicling the failed marriage of Jamie, an aspiring writer who gets a publishing deal, and Cathy, an unsuccessful actress whose failure at marriage is akin to her failure at show business.

Final performance dates for “The Last Five Years” are today, tomorrow, and Feb. 15. Tickets can be purchased at http://act1theaterproductions.com. 🅼