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Pepperdine brings the life of the city to Smothers

Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
2:18 pm PDT March 17, 2014

Seven groups hit Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre stage on Friday, March 14, for one of the school’s most celebrated musical traditions: Songfest.

This year’s theme, “Bright Lights, Big City,” brought out dozens of campus groups for the four days of performances, March 10-March 14, all of which were given a particular city to base a 12-minute long, original song and dance piece to be judged by a panel of entertainment professionals. 

After just two weeks of planning and practicing their songs and choreography and designing their sets and costumes, one winner is chosen from each of the four performances. Friday’s guest judge panel included actor Ben Murphy, agent Justin Ongert, director Michael Preece, musicians Jim and Mary Kay Altizer, director and producer Graeme Clifford and Oprah Winfrey Network executive Endyia Kinney-Sterns.

In keeping with the show’s theme, the groups created their performances around cities across the globe. Delta Psi Theta and friends portrayed the hopes of a budding soul singer in the Memphis music scene with their performance, while Kappa Gamma Chi and friends put a modern twist on Dorothy’s journey in “The Wizard of Oz” using Seattle as the backdrop. 

Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Tau Omega and friends settled feuds between the people of Chicago after the great fire burned the city to the ground, and Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Phi and friends showed the immigrant struggle in early 20th century New York City. 

Pi Beta Phi, Delta Tau Delta and friends showed the audience an unlikely love story between a Bollywood actress and a young tech professional in Mumbai, and Gamma GHKKKKKet Sigma and friends went back to the Great Exhibition in London for their performance.

Eta Theta Tau wrapped up the night by showing the struggle of imprisoned beat-niks on Alcatraz Island in San Francisico.  

The Songfest hosts, Pepperdine students Jamie Howard, Mindyhope Lewis, Danielle Minke, Taylor Nam, Kenny Roberson and Kai Woods Decker ushered the audience through the three-hour performances with performances of their own in between the groups, putting their own touch on hits like “Istanbul [Not Constantinople],” “All Night Long” and the show’s namesake “Bright Lights, Big City.”