First Year Players perform “Young Frankenstein”

First Year Players perform "Young Frankenstein"

The group, made up of only freshman and transfer students, is performing the musical through Saturday.
Published: April 13, 2018

As First Year Players’ co-assistant producer, Shannon Hope, sat in the rehearsals’ audience Monday night, watching the first years run through their first number, tears came to her eyes.

“Seeing them on stage doing what they love, that’s why I do it. It is giving back and giving that opportunity that I had to future generations and paying it forward and that made it,” says Hope.

The Syracuse University organization, First Year Players (FYP), hosts its annual show this weekend, featuring Mel Brooks’ musical, Young Frankenstein. The entire production’s cast and crew consists entirely of first year or transfer students at the university. The group made major strides this year, as this was the first year that the pit has been the same.

Kaitie Pearson, the dramaturge for this year’s show, explains this is just one way in which the organization has improved from years past. She notes the group has also created more of a community between the pit, crew and cast.

The community feeling is especially prominent in the FYP community. During her first semester at Syracuse University, Pearson explains she was enrolled in classes the size of her high school graduating class. FYP helped her find her home away from home.

“I found my best friends here. I found my roommates here. I found my soulmates here. People that are going to be in my life forever,” says Pearson. “So, that’s the main motivation I see with that. It is more than a show. It is a community. It is something special that touches a part of your heart and because you get so much from it.”

First year, Mackenzie Sammeth, is a part of the stage crew. She happened to be on campus during the 2017 production of “Big Fish” while touring Syracuse University last year.

“After seeing the immense amount of love and support between this group, I knew I wanted to be a part of this group before I set foot in the fall,” says Sammeth.

In addition, one of Pearson’s goals as dramaturge was to make sure the pit and stage crew felt a part of the journey and understood their role in the production. She tailored presentations to both groups in such a way.

“You are putting on this beautiful piece of theater and if you do not fully understand what you are doing, you are not going to be able to enjoy it as much,” says Pearson.

Young Frankenstein was one of six shows the group was deciding between back in September for the Spring 2018 production. The runner ups were Pippin, Mary Poppins, Shrek, Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

With only 78 days since the cast was announced (January 24), a team of 180 students, consisting of 50 first years and 130 staff members, fully prepared for a three-night production. Just this week, the team put in approximately 35 hours of rehearsals and preparation.

“Every year it becomes more magical. Every year it grows. They take what happened the year before and they emphasize it and they make it better and it is just amazing to see,” says Hope.

The show lasts from Thursday April 12 until Saturday April 14 in Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center. Tickets are on sale online and in the Schine Box Office for $4 with an SUID and are $7 for general admission.