By Catherine Gonzalez
Jennifer Aydin from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” hosted the Lyric Theatre sold-out “Broadway Open Mic Night” in the Don Evans Black Box Theater on Nov. 11.
Aydin opened the event by singing “All That Jazz” from “Chicago.”
“Jennifer is killing it,” said freshman undeclared arts and communications major Ava Milsom, a member of Lyric Theatre who performed “I Will Never Leave You” from “Side Show” with her twin sister, Emma Milsom.
Members of the College’s Lyric Theatre class are students of various different majors at the College. They performed solos and duets that they had prepared for weeks in the Lyric Theatre class leading up to the event, with a well-rounded setlist ranging from sentimental ballads like Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to operettic, mysterious songs such as “When the Night Wind Howls” by Gilbert and Sullivan. Other tunes were from popular musicals that include “Legally Blonde,” “Grease,” “Smash,” “Little Women” and “Mamma Mia.”
Audience members also got a chance to perform, putting their names and the title of the song they wanted to sing into a drawing that took place live at the event.
“My favorite part was watching all the audience perform,” said sophomore mathematics and secondary education major Aidan Hulse, who is part of Lyric Theatre and performed “Top of the World” from “Tuck Everlasting.” “I loved seeing the new talent that we have out here, and it’s always so fun to see somebody spontaneously do it. It’s amazing.”
The setup of the room also encouraged audience participation and engagement, with tables surrounding the stage and a clear view of Lyric Theatre’s piano accompanist, Peter de Metz, who sight-read each of the audience’s song choices.
Among active participants in the audience were Aydin’s youngest daughter, Olivia, and Aydin’s brother, Steven Altinel. Altinel also performed at the event, singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from “The Sound of Music.”
It was through Altinel’s connection with Nathan Brewer, the director of Lyric Theatre, that Aydin ended up hosting the Open Mic Night.
“So my brother, Steven Altinel, has his musical theater program, the LIMTF (Long Island Musical Theatre Festival), and Nathan is his partner in that, and Nathan just asked him to ask me, and I said ‘yes,’” Aydin told The Signal.
Aydin said a positive experience working with the members of Lyric Theatre, who put her at ease. After the show, attendees got the chance to take photos with her.
“Today was the first day that I’ve ever had to experience with them, and I have to tell you, they’re extremely patient, which I appreciate, and they’re professionals,” said Aydin. “They keep it light, so it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be, so it was great. Good support system.”
Milsom shared that Lyric Theatre will soon get to work with another renowned figure.
“We [are] going to get to work with Jason Robert Brown, a really famous Broadway composer, later in the year in February,” said Milsom.