Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment


The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

As a full-time first year university student and part-time musical theatre enthusiast, I eagerly bought tickets to three student-produced University of Toronto musicals this year. And I have to say that I was amazed by the quality of the acting, singing, dancing, and everything else these productions offered. Sitting in the audience, I forgot for the course of all shows that I was not watching high budget professional productions. Here is my review of Grease by Trinity College Dramatic Society, Legally Blonde by the St. Mike’s Troubadours, and Young Frankenstein by the Victoria College Dramatic Society.

Grease – Trinity College Dramatic Society

Taking place in the 70’s in Rydell High, this amazing musical follows the dramatic interactions of the T-birds and Pink Ladies, the male and female greaser cliques of the high school scene. Danny, the leader of the T-birds, and Sandy, an innocent transfer student from Australia, unexpectedly meet again after their summer romance, and disagreements quickly bloom as Sandy sees a new side of Danny’s character as he tries to fit into his stereotypical greaser group.

Joseph Chiu, who played Danny Zuko gave an outstanding performance, masterfully balancing Danny’s vulnerability to Sandy and his try-hard personality desiring to protect his reputation as the leader of T-birds. Serena Barr’s Sandra Dee was to the point, and while her portrayal was solid and her vocal prowess evident, it was the electrifying energy and standout performances of her fellow actors that truly stole the spotlight. Jessica Wang’s Frenchy and James Goldman’s Roger were great comedic reliefs, and Deslyn Bach’s portrayal of Rizzo was a great contrast in creating tension. 

Joseph Chiu’s Alone at a Drive in Movie, Deslyn Bach’s There are Worse Things I Could Do, and Kylee Martinez’s Freddy My Love were all showstoppers. The cast as a whole worked very well together and had great chemistry. Choreographies especially in Greased Lightning and We Go Together were phenomenal, and the live band polished this mesmerizing theatrical experience. The costumes and props were amazing, and the production went over and beyond what I expected from a university-produced musical. Props to Luis Sanchez for directing this dazzling ensemble!

Legally Blonde – The St. Mike’s Troubadours

Omigod You Guys! This was an amazing production filled with high energy from the beginning to the very end. Following the story of popular sorority girl Elle Woods who decides to go to Harvard Law School after being broken up with by her long-time boyfriend, Legally Blonde spreads messages of ambition and dedication, and takes us on a journey at the end of which Elle finds herself after having her life altered in the most unexpected ways.

In this production, dazzling dance numbers reign supreme. The choreography, masterfully crafted and executed by the talented ensemble, is undoubtedly the highlight of the show. My jaw dropped especially during Avril Bridgen’s (who portrays murder suspect Brooke Wyndham) performance of Whipped into Shape. You need to have perfect breath control to sing for more than four minutes while skipping rope at the same time, and she nailed it perfectly. Though it didn’t have the same kind of movement, Cass Iacovelli’s (who portrays hairdresser Paulette Buonufonte) performance of Ireland was another showstopper, and the training and precision of her voice was evident.  

Joseph Chiu’s Emmett Forrest and Lizzie Song’s Elle Woods had amazing interaction, and their performances complimented each other building up to the growth of their romantic interest. Joëlle Staropoli’s portrayal of Vivienne Kensington was dazzling, and the audience was left in awe by her high belts. I wish the score allowed her to get more solos.

In some group numbers, amidst the whirlwind of movement and excitement, there were moments where the musical control of the ensemble seemed to falter. While the enthusiasm and passion were evident, there were instances where the harmonies were slightly off. Yet, despite this minor shortcoming, Legally Blonde was a huge success of a feel-good musical with its infectious energy and comedic value.

Young Frankenstein – Victoria College Dramatic Society

To be honest, I was expecting more of a darker plot and preparing myself for some tension while I was in my seat waiting for the show to start. I am embarrassed to admit as a musical theatre enthusiast that I didn’t know the plot beforehand, and knowing the original story of Frankenstein, assumed something similar in emotion. What I got couldn’t be further from that, in the best way possible.

Young Frankenstein follows the journey of Freida, granddaughter of the original Dr. Frankenstein, as she moves to Transylvania to take over the family business of creating life from the dead. She makes friends with the loyal Igor and forms a love interest with Inga who works as her personal assistant. The team is complete with the housekeeper Frau Blucher, and they go on to accidentally insert an abnormal brain into the body of an 8 feet tall male. 

As serious as the plot may sound, the absurdity and satirical quality of this production left everyone in the audience clapping along to songs and laughing their hearts out. 

Jordan Davis’ performance as the lead was absolutely phenomenal, and her level of talent and commitment was evident every second she was present on stage. Eleanor Wiens Farrelly’s Igor was portrayed perfectly with just the right amount of humor and lightheartedness. Siobhán Gyulay, who played Inga, had astounding control over her strong voice, and she did an astonishing job coherently singing in an accent. Karen Hopkins’ Frau Blucher had a mysterious appearance that perfectly complimented her character, and Mai-Yin Johnston’s Elizabeth Benning blew the roof off with her self-confidence. Finally, Hunter Moore portrayed the Monster in a way that was unexpectedly tender and empathetic despite being unable to talk, leaving the audience utterly captivated by his phenomenal performance

Though this production was missing a live band unlike the other two, the fact that they were using pre-recorded backing tracks was barely noticeable since the cast delivered unparalleled acting and vocal performances. Directed by Madeleine King, Young Frankenstein was a big hit.

Even though the season for University of Toronto productions is already over for this academic term, make sure to get tickets to all performances that you can next year. They all deliver magnificent theatrical experiences.

Melis Vanli

U Toronto '27

Melis Vanli is a writer at HerCampus. She is currently a first year student at the University of Toronto St. George campus hoping to double major in Cognitive Science and Psychology and minor in Creative Writing. She is a singer/songwriter and tutors piano. She loves flowers and candles, exploring bookshops, and ending up with a huge amount of books she will only be able to finish reading in the next lifetime.