It’s not every day that a Penn State alumnus gets to come back to campus to reunite with the past. But last night, four former Penn State Theatre students, and current Broadway performers, joined thespians of different generations on stage for a sold out, one-night only concert directed by John Simpkins, “We Are… On Broadway!”
The four performers, Caroline Bowman, Nathan Lucrezio, Laurie Veldheer, and Alan Wiggins, are known for their performances in “Wicked,” “Aladdin,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Lion King.” As students, the actors became close friends and are grateful for this unique opportunity to perform together — something that they never get to do in New York City.
“It’s amazing,” Veldheer said. “I loved my time at Penn State, it’s just that nothing has brought me back here.” Veldheer is glad that this unique concert not only brought her back to State College, but reunited her with members of her musical theatre “family” that she came to love as student. “Experiencing it together makes it so much better.”
“Everything rushes back,” Lucrezio said. “You know exactly where you are, where you’re going. The same anxiety as you walk to class,” Bowman added. All of the performers agreed that the amazing memories they made as seniors were worth a revisit. “Any time we get to spend together, even if it’s not working, it’s amazing,” Wiggins said.
Other actors and actresses, some Penn State Theatre students, and performers from local high and middle schools joined the alumni on stage for much of the concert. Witnessing the local programs in action was an excitement for the stars. “To see their joy, and their energy and talent, and just to know that our program is in great hands,” Wiggins said. “They’re gonna come out and take New York by storm, like we hoped to do.”
The night featured familiar favorites such as, “Some Things Are Meant To Be,” “If I Could Feel,” “Happy Days/Forget Your Troubles,” and “Follow Your Heart,” accompanied by a band and for certain numbers, a student chorus. The astounding vocal ability of current, future, and past Penn State Theatre students certainly treated the audience to the powerhouse of talent that is Penn State Theatre.