“Immigrants Standing: A Musical Revue” Spring Musical Auditions


rocio Valdez

Rebekah Hathaway and Christine Gregory, instructors in the Dance Department, taught the students a dance combination. The students performed the short dance combo for auditions. Photo credit: Rocio Valdez

Rocio Valdez, A&E Editor

A couple of Cerritos College students showed up to audition for the Cerritos College spring musical, “Immigrants Standing: A Musical Revue” on Jan. 30 and 31. This musical is a collaboration of the Theatre, Music and Dance Departments.

For auditions the students had to prepare a poem of their choice and present it in a theatrical way, as well as a Broadway, Ballad or Lyrical Pop song.

Students who were contacted for a callback returned on Jan. 31 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Jerry Prell, professor in the Theater Department and the Director of the Spring Musical, greeted the students for callbacks and explained that “Immigrants Standing” is a musical revue based on a contemporary and historical look at immigrants and immigration in the USA.

Prell mentioned how he hopes this musical will give voice to immigration and it is something a lot of people will be able to relate to because many come from a family of immigrants, saying there are DACA students and there have always been immigrants in this country.

David Betancourt is the musical director of the Cerritos College upcoming Spring Musical, “Immigrants Standing: A Musical Revue.” He played the piano while the auditioning students did vocalization and harmonizing exercises. Photo credit: Rocio Valdez

To achieve this, they have taken songs from the musical theater catalog and chose a variety of pieces.

Some have been written by students, former students and some were from docudramas.

“The best kind of theater arises people’s spirits and makes them think and that is what I see and our vision is to make the audience go, ‘Oh My God, those kids had something to say of what is going on, form their sense of passion and from their soul,’” said Prell.

David Betancourt, music director professor and musical director of the musical, motivated the students by telling them his goal is not to do a professional musical, but that the instructors are more interested in helping them be the best and teaching them so they can all reach their potential.

Betancourt started with making the students form a circle to do clapping and vocalization exercises. After a few minutes after, he moved on to play the piano while students did harmonizing exercises all together.

Rebekah Hathaway and Christine Gregory, both instructors in the Dance Department, later took over to teach the student a short dance combination to showcase. The students quickly learned the combination and were grouped into three groups to present it.

Jessica Stockwell, vocal performance major, was feeling nervous for the auditions, saying “the nerves never go away.”

“I’ve been auditioning for a lot of things and it never gets any easier but they are really nice people. When we came in, they tried to make us feel as comfortable as possible so we can sing and act as best as we can.”

After the auditions and callback, Stockwell felt really accomplished as it was her first musical audition for the college and felt really confident.

Miguel Ruiz, theater major, was auditioning for the second time in Cerritos College but still felt nervous for auditions.

He prepared for this moment by choosing a poem and a song that gave him confidence.

“I feel good about myself,” he said. “I didn’t want to come because I was nervous, but then I was like I got it out the way already, I did it and I feel good about myself because I did it.”

Ruiz also mentioned how he liked the theme of the musical, stating “I like the fact that it’s about immigrants coming over, and even the song we were practicing today had a good message, I think it will be a really nice play.”

Rian Liao, dance major, felt a rush of adrenaline after auditions.

“All I know is that I did my best and that is all I could ask for,” he said.

After the auditions, Director Jerry Prell said, “there might be some tough decisions but overall we are fortunate to have so many talented kids, different levels of talent and this is really about educational theater and about giving young people an opportunity to work with professionals and get better at what they do.”

Performance dates will be May 1-2 and 7-9 at 8 p.m. and May 10 at 2 p.m.