Beyoncé is perpetually in the spotlight. One cannot surf Tumblr without combing through an abundance of Beyoncé Super Bowl GIFs. “Drunk in Love” remixes seem to be released on the Internet daily—remixes by Diplo, The Weekend, T.I. and Kanye West were all released within the week, flooding Facebook newsfeeds and racking up enthusiastic comments on SoundCloud. It is impossible to escape chatter of Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album, which assumed massive popularity although the album was dropped sans advertisement. That’s just how Bey does it. Beyoncé’s popularity rockets at an exponential rate, and Vassar is paying homage in its own way, for the second year now, through a Beyoncé Musical.
Beyoncé enthusiasts from all corners of Vassar’s campus will unite in their shared love of Beyoncé, either as audience members or performers of favorite Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child hits.
The Beyoncé musical, “Yoncé,” will be presented as a cabaret-style tribute to Sasha Fierce herself, with comedic vignettes not having to do with the glitz and glam Beyoncé sings about, but of daily life on Vassar’s campus, which take place between performances of Beyoncé’s songs.
The show’s organizers agree that a Beyoncé musical is a fun occasion to honor the reigning queen of pop and also a crucial event to be held at Vassar. Joe Metcalf ’17, the stage manager, provided a clear, succinct explanation of the necessity of the show. He said, “Because Beyoncé. Because her new album is awesome and we needed to celebrate it… Because Beyoncé is queen. Also, it was produced last year, and we wanted to continue the tradition.”
For those who would like to take an active role as part of the ever-popular Beyoncé fandom, the show offers an open atmosphere as well as an enthusiastic one. Reeve Johnson ’14, who will be co-directing the show along with Grace Gregory ’17, said, “Beyoncé is the perfect artist for an all-inclusive musical for multiple reasons: People love her music so they’ll come audition and see the show; she has many powerful songs that show off a variety of vocal talents; and her performance style inspires the performances you see in the musical.”
The musical’s repertoire will include both hits from her most recent album as well as classic Beyoncé singles, with songs being performed both solo and as a group. “You can’t have a Beyoncé musical without choreography,” Johnson said, and the show will include large choreographed dance numbers.
Last year, the Beyoncé Musical was a low-key commitment for those involved. This year, however, the show’s organizers instilled a more collaborative and systematic approach to putting up the show. “Last year, we had three to four rehearsals for each cast member, a dress rehearsal with the entire cast, and then the final performance,” Johnson said. “This year, we tried meeting as a group more often to see how much people wanted to get involved so that they could oversee the entire song selection process, discuss what the musical would be about, and write the scenes.”
The show gave participants the chance to exhibit their love for Beyoncé to a larger audience than, say, singing “Bootylicious” in the shower to their unexpecting hallmates. “I auditioned for the Beyoncé musical last semester not knowing what to expect. When I got in and started the rehearsal process, I found that an incredibly talented group of students was assembled to put on a show of Beyoncé’s work,” said Hector Fortun ’17, who will be singing “XO” in the musical.
He continued, “I was excited to start and was happy to see that it was a great way to give us all a way to perform. We practically got to choose how much we wanted to be involved, which gave me an opportunity to choose to sing my first solo ever at Vassar.”
Doug Greer ’14 acts in the comedic scenes between musical numbers. Greer attributed his enthusiasm for the show not only to Beyoncé but also to those organizing the show, particularly Johnson. “He had such an incredible time doing it last year but I couldn’t be a part of it [then]. So when he mentioned he wanted to do it again, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved,” Greer said in an emailed statement. “It’s such a low stress, fun way to get involved in performing. The performers have a lot of say in what songs they sing, dances they’re in and what scenes they are a part of. It’s a super collaborative process and Reeve is so wonderful to work with.”
The show’s organizers are as passionate about their musical as Beyoncé is about her love of Jay-Z and Blue Ivy. Metcalf said, “Audience members should expect an exciting, electric, high-energy, fun-filled, friendly and all around fierce experience of the greatness of Beyoncé.”
In an emailed statement, Johnson said, “Audience members should expect spectacular, ***Flawless performances from people they may have not seen perform before! This will hopefully become an annual tradition, so people do not want to miss the Second Annual Beyoncé Musical.”
“Yoncé” will take place at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 in the Aula.