Celebrate the best of Broadway with UNISTA

ANTHONY WITHEROW, Campus Life Editor

UNI students and members of the Cedar Valley have until Sunday, Jan. 31 to showcase their musical talents for the UNI Student Theatre Association’s Best of Broadway Virtual Cabaret.

Premiering on their Youtube Channel on Feb. 20, UNISTA’s Marketing Director Zoella Sneed is asking for students to submit a rough draft video performing their favorite number from a Broadway musical, TV musical or movie musical. Solos, duets and group numbers are all welcome as long as UNI’s social distancing guidelines are being adhered to. Audition videos must be sent to UNISTA’s email at [email protected].

If your number is picked to be presented in the final video, you will be asked to submit a final draft of your number after attending a virtual workshop session with Sneed.

Sneed  a senior theatre majorhas directed the Best of Broadway Cabaret for the past three years. She, along with other UNISTA members, were planning the event when the COVID-19 pandemic began last March.

“We knew that we would have to come up with a way to modify this event so we could still provide the same experience for our campus community,” said Sneed. “Moving Best of Broadway online was our solution.”

With the pandemic putting the theatre industry on hold, UNISTA has had to drastically alter the way in which they direct performances. Sneed finds the biggest challenge with these changes to be coordinating communication between everyone involved.

“We always make sure to approach challenges with critical thinking, empathy and optimism,” said Sneed. “We have definitely taken that skill straight from watching the wonderful professors in the theatre department navigate challenges in real-time throughout years of productions.”

UNISTA’s problem-solving skills have helped the organization host a multitude of events that stick to UNI’s COVID-19 guidelines. Events during the fall 2020 semester like “UNISTA Theatre Under the Stars” and their virtual “Play in a Day” show the group’s ability to keep the spirit of theatre alive, albeit to a limited extent.

“We’re a family first and foremost,” said Sneed. “I think that is the number one thing that helps us create theatre even in times where it seems impossible.”