Pillbox

Music, costume, and dance: Students gather for Greek Sing

Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Pi performing *Wicked*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Pi performing *Wicked*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Pi performing *Wicked*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Pi performing *Wicked*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Doubles winners Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Kappa Alpha performing *Mamma Mia!*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Doubles winners Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Kappa Alpha performing *Mamma Mia!*. (credit: Jesse Kummer) Second-place doubles winners Delta Delta Delta and Delta Tau Delta singing “The Nicest Kids in Town” from *Hairspray*. (credit: Guillermo Gomez) Second-place doubles winners Delta Delta Delta and Delta Tau Delta singing “The Nicest Kids in Town” from *Hairspray*. (credit: Guillermo Gomez)

For students and faculty members alike, Greek Sing is often acclaimed as the most anticipated event of the school year. This reputation has been rightfully earned, as the members of Carnegie Mellon’s various fraternities and sororities often dedicate hours upon hours of their time to building sets, learning songs, and choreographing dance routines to prepare for this stunning show. Aside from all of the glitz and glamour of Carnegie Mellon’s very own glimpse into Broadway, and the pride and joy that come with winning an award for one’s house, Greek Sing is an event with a noble purpose — all of the money earned through ticket sales and Greek-sponsored events is donated to a philanthropic cause chosen by the students.

This year, the Greek community decided to dedicate the record-breaking $38,000 earned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Because of donations like this one, St. Jude is able to provide free health care to children diagnosed with serious illnesses all across the United States. St. Jude is also making strides in cancer research. As the hospital’s representative stated in his student address, “our goal at St. Jude’s is get to a point where we, the staff, are all unemployed. We want to close our doors forever — we want to find a cure for cancer.”

Keeping their philanthropic mission in mind, the members of Carnegie Mellon’s various fraternities and sororities put on an unforgettable show. The Greek community also chose to dedicate their performances to recently passed Pi Kappa Alpha brother Matt Tembo, holding a moment of silence at the beginning of the show in his honor.

The first act of the show consisted of four singles acts, in which four fraternities chose to perform without a sorority house partner. Up first was singles third-place recipient Pi Delta Psi with a rendition of the 2008 musical tragicomedy film Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. In the skit, Dr. Horrible, an aspiring supervillian, struggles to one-up his archnemesis Captain Hammer while simultaneously trying to attain the affection of their mutual love interest, Penny.

Second came Beta Theta Pi with an original show that can best be described as a cross-dressing rendition of a Jersey Shore and Bachelor hybrid musical. Although the fraternity did not receive any awards for the singles division because its performance lacked a key component — song — the men of Beta Theta Pi kept the audience in hysterics throughout their entire performance. After the Beta brothers came singles second-place recipient Sigma Tau Gamma with the house’s production of “The Night Man Cometh,” a musical adaptation of an episode of the FX sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Because the circumstances surrounding the performance were not properly explained with a script description or cited source, many audience members were confused as to what was going on with the plot. Regardless, seeing fraternity brothers sing about superheroes in giant baby and sun costumes was extremely entertaining, and the overall vocal quality of the performance was notably high.

Last but not least, singles first-place recipient Sigma Alpha Epsilon put on “*Titanic* (On Ice).” While many expected the brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon to roll out on roller skates or something of the sort, the audience was surprised to find that the show was “on ice” because instead of charting the journey of the various passengers aboard the Titanic, it instead told the story of the iceberg itself, which took on a particular likeness to Ariel of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The performance was full of witty humor, talented singers, and a beautifully detailed set, which made it overall completely deserving of its first-place singles title.

After a brief intermission, the show continued with Act 2, the doubles performances. In these performances, various fraternities and sororities chose to team up — making for interesting vocal harmonies as well as larger, more intricate acts. Up first were the doubles third-place recipients Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Pi in their performance of Wicked, he celebrated retelling of The Wizard of Oz. The lead roles of Glinda and Elphaba were beautifully portrayed by the women of Alpha Chi Omega. Aside from incredible vocal talent, the performance also consisted of a positively dazzling set that made excellent use of props and stage space. Alpha Epsilon Pi also received the Chairman’s Choice Award, which is handpicked by the Greek Sing chairs and often understood to be the congeniality award for the sororities and fraternities involved in the event.

Doubles winners Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Kappa Alpha performed next with their rendition of British jukebox musical Mamma Mia! Performing popular songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia,” the vocal performance of the Kappa Alpha Theta sisters and Pi Kappa Alpha brothers was extraordinary, appropriately earning them the winning trophy. “I thought the Theta/PiKA win was rightfully earned,” said first-year biology major Peggy Lees. “The girls did a fabulous job vocally and the dance numbers were really professional. I was so happy when they won.”

Next, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Phi Epsilon performed their rendition of the 1980 musical film Fame!, in which audiences follow the successes and failures of several students from New York City’s High School of Performing Arts. Although the show did not place, the set for Fame! was the most impressive of all of the doubles acts. Also, audiences couldn’t help but appreciate that in Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Phi Epsilon’s version of the musical, the character Nick chooses to attend the “prestigious Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama” upon graduating from New York City’s High School of Performing Arts.

Delta Delta Delta and Delta Tau Delta managed to earn the doubles second-place prize for their performance of John Waters’ 1988 film-based musical Hairspray. Despite their performance being stopped abruptly due to what was described by an MC as a power outage, the groups managed to continue and put on a truly dazzling performance. Perhaps most notable was the likeness of the cross-dressing Delta Tau Delta actor playing Edna Turnblad to the role played by John Travolta in the popular 2007 film rendition of the musical. The costumes in this performance were especially impressive, and the audience couldn’t help but sing along with the Delta Delta Delta sisters and Delta Tau Delta brothers when they performed songs like “The Nicest Kids in Town” and “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now.”

Last but not least, the sisters of Delta Gamma collaborated with the brothers of Phi Kappa Theta to put on their version of 1990’s Cry-Baby. The musical is similar to Jim Jacobs’ and Warren Casey’s Grease in that it tracks the relationship of a clean-cut girl and a bad boy. In the show, Baltimore teenager Allison Vernon-Williams falls in love with Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker and is drawn to his rowdy group of mischievous lowlifes. Possibly the best portrayal in the show came from Lenora, the schizophrenic bad girl who is seemingly and obsessively in love with Cry-Baby and willing to do anything to ruin his relationship with Allison. Although they did not place, Delta Gamma and Phi Kappa Theta were definitely crowd favorites — cheers from the audience could be heard throughout the performance.

Greek Sing is an opportunity for students to come together and recognize the efforts of our Greek community. It seems that all too often, the charitable efforts of the sorority sisters and fraternity brothers on campus are overlooked in favor of more controversial incidents. During performances as impressive as these, we are able to recognize the determination of our Greek students. All in all, Greek Sing was a night of great fun, good motives, and fabulous talent.