First they were salty, now they’re sweet

The 43rd annual Fall Fest poked fun at the drama surrounding the University’s upper administration


Courtesy of PAO

Fall Fest is known for being one of the most entertaining and creative performances put on by Suffolk’s Performing Arts Office (PAO). Among the drama that occurred at Suffolk in the last few years was the relocating of the departments that were in the Donahue and Archer buildings that were sold in 2015. Within Archer was the grand C. Walsh Theatre – a theatre that had become home to the performing arts. This circumstance led to the performances being crammed into the tiny, yet tasteful Modern Theatre. Between the clash of the administrators and the relocation of the departments, the PAO created this year’s Fall Fest theme – “Not So Sweet Sixteen.”

Kevin Landers, a junior marketing major, is the public relations manager of the PAO and is one of Fall Fest’s performers this year in the Fall Fest Company. He explained how the theme was selected.

“Based on all the drama that went down at Suffolk last year, ‘Not So Sweet Sixteen’ seemed like a fitting title,” said Landers. “Since Fall Fest was usually at C. Walsh, we were a little bitter about moving it to Modern.”

Although some were upset about moving from the C. Walsh Theatre to Modern Theatre, Acting President Marisa Kelly feels as if it has all worked out for the best.

“Modern is a great historic theatre. I’m happy we were able to think about Fall Fest in a way that works for Modern,” said Kelly in a post-show interview with The Suffolk Journal..

In reaction to the theme “Not So Sweet Sixteen,” Kelly said, “It was fun, they kept it light. I definitely feel like you’ve moved forward from the past when you can start poking fun at the situation.”

This year’s Fall Fest left a positive, memorable impression on the audience, particularly Kelly.

“The acts were all fabulous,” said Kelly. “It’s always incredible to see how talented our students and staff are and to see how much fun they are having while doing it. Every year is different, but this year in particular I felt like you could really feel the energy from the performers and the audience as well.”

Kristin Baker, the director of the performing arts office, takes pride in Fall Fest each year.

“It’s a great Suffolk tradition” said Baker. “It brings together students and faculty for a warm and joyful performance.”

Despite the change in venue, the show was still filled with talent and energy. Animated hosts Kemal Beyaztas and DJ Fabrizio kept the audience entertained in between acts with their humorous commentary and spunky personalities.

The night began with upbeat jazzy music and glitzy 1920s attire. As the company opened with “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” from the musical “Dreamgirls,” the interactive performance began with a seductive tone as the performers walked through the theatre in low lighting, gently touching and whispering to the audience members they walked by. As the lights came up with the crescendo of the music, the company was in sync with their choreography and already wowing the audience with their grandiose dancing and singing skills.

The  debut performance of Suffolk’s newest a cappella group, “Soulfully Versed” was one of the most memorable acts of the night. With just two weeks of rehearsal, the group was able to put on a stimulating performance. The group itself focuses on R&B and soul music.

Among the talented individual acts was Caitlin Sampson, a freshman who played piano and sang “Bored to Death” by Blink 182. Sampson’s vocal skills stood out in the performance, and the commentators said Sampson is surely a great addition to the performing arts family.

Other acts included Eleanor Mouzafarov, a skilled vocalist and guitarist. Mouzafarov amazed the crowd when she sang “Videli Noch” in fluent Russian.

Rebecca Zama’s soulful voice filled the theatre with emotion when she sang a tasteful and romantic rendition of “Is This Love” by Bob Marley. Zama’s act showed off outstanding vocal skills making her act one of the most memorable performances of the evening.

One of the more unique and entertaining performances of the night was by Residence and Housing Director Adrienne Frame. Frame sassily strutted onto the stage and put on a humorous and exceptional performance of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from “The Little Mermaid.” Frame’s theatrical attitude made for a splendid performance that left the audience happily amused.

Showcasing talents like color guard, vocal and instrumental performance, tap dancing, original rapping, Melissa Smith, Ruth Christmas, Jacob Tobey, Elizabeth Hadley and Ben Pompilus gave excellent performances as part of the independent acts portion of the show as well.

Additionally, The Fall Fest Company put on six acts altogether. “Too Darn Hot,” by Ella Fitzgerald, featured the girls dressed in sassy red dresses and highlighted both their dance and vocal skills. “Devil in Disguise,” by Elvis Presley was a 50s style dance with creative and well performed choreography. “Cell Block Tango,” from the musical “Chicago,” one of the most easily recognizable songs, highlighted the acting and vocal skills of six girls.

The company put a fun twist on “Forget You” by CeeLo Green, changing the end lyrics of the song to be about a gay male couple. The closing number “Anything Goes” from the musical “Anything Goes,” featured the company in sexy black and leather outfits that left a favorable impression on the audience about the show as a whole.

Overall, Fall Fest was an entertaining performance that brought the Suffolk community together for a night of smiles, laughs and appreciation for the arts. Suffolk’s performing arts has the ability to perform with roaring energy no matter what venue they are in. Although there may have been some bitter feelings about Fall Fest’s location this year, the performance did not suffer in the slightest.