Role Reversal: Performers Put Nontraditional Spin on Broadway, Hollywood Tunes

March 15, 2019

Justin Alston and Andrew Saundry perform “For Good” as Elphaba and Glinda from “Wicked” during Wednesday's TDPS Backwards event, when performers shattered gender norms by singing songs of their choosing. (Photo by David Andrews)

It’s not every day that an audience gets to see one performer take on both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s parts from the “A Star Is Born” Oscar-winning hit “Shallow.” Or hear the witches Elphaba and Glinda’s soulful duet “For Good” from the hit musical “Wicked” sung by two men.

But during TDPS Backwards, a performance presented Wednesday by the Undergraduate Theatre Artists Society (UTAS) in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, performers upended gender norms by singing any song of their choosing.  

“TDPS Backwards was inspired by Broadway Backwards, an event where big-name Broadway actors sing songs from shows, typically reversing gender roles or playing a type of part that they wouldn’t normally get to play,” said Andrew Saundry, a senior theatre and history major and president of UTAS. “We thought this would be a fun event to get the department engaged and to do some community work.”

The performance raised money through donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, an organization that supports men, women and children who have AIDS.

“This is the first charity event UTAS has done in my time,” Saundry says. “We hope it remains an important event on our schedule in years to come.”

By Sarah Snyder

Photo credit: David Andrews

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