by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
It has been the pleasure of the Dual Critics each year since 2007 to review a Senior Showcase presented by a graduating Jacksonville University Musical Theatre student, which is both a celebration and a demonstration of the skills acquired while completing their education in their chosen field of study.
On April 15, 2013 the showcase of Jet Thomas was presented at Terry Hall on the Arlington campus of Jacksonville University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree in Musical Theatre. We have had the opportunity to see her perform previously both at JU and in community theatre.
Jet is from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and chose JU for her degree in Theatre. At JU, she played the role of Eve in “The Apple Tree” and Amy in the excellent musical version of “Little Women”. She had the lead as Millie in JU’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (directed by Shirley Sacks) and finished her career on stage this spring with the musical “Street Scene”, where she appeared as the nursemaid and was also the assistant stage manager.
Jet has certainly left her mark in community theatre productions. She played one of the leading roles in “Reefer Madness,” a big summer musical hit at Players by the Sea. In an original production at the Wilson Center, she appeared in the role of Anne in “Another Sign: The Musical”. Her dramatic skills were evident at the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre as Julie in “After Ashley”.
Her Jacksonville University Music Department showcase began promptly at 7:00 pm as Jet warmed up the audience with “Home” from Maury Yeston’s “Phantom”. While dressed in a very formal red evening gown, she presented operatic selections that included a selection from the work of Vincenzo Bellini (in Italian) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (in German).
After a quick change of clothes into a more casual red dress, Jet did three songs by British Composer Roger Quilter, entitled “Love’s Philosophy,” “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal” and “June”.
Jet than launched into songs from shows more familiar to the audience that included selections from “A Chorus Line”, “Chicago”, “The Drowsy Chaperone”, “A … My Name is Alice”, “The Light in the Piazza”, and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
After another change of clothing, this time into a smart black dress, she was joined by Jerome Larson in a duet from ”Chess” entitled “You and I”. Samantha Wicklund, another JU student, then joined her in “Fix You” and “Flight”.
Are you a songwriter? If you have written a love song, then by all means have Jet Thomas record it and it will be a hit. Jet is absolutely fabulous singing romantic ballads. She has a voice that is intoxicating, and she had the audience swooning with the songs “I Sure Like the Boys” and “Out of My Head”. Her rendition of “Once Upon a Time”, from “All American” by composer Charles Strouse (who was the composer for “Annie”) was breathtaking.
Jet finished the showcase with “Fly, Fly Away” from “Catch Me If You Can” by Marc Shaiman and the very beautiful “Thankful” from “Magdalene” by Chris Eaton as the final selection.
Jet, a student of JU professor Kimberly Beasley, was expertly accompanied by Edie Hubert on the piano. Ms. Thomas is also a dancer and did a bit of this in the middle of her presentation but the emphasis was on her voice and the vocal side of the showcase. We don’t know what Jet’s plans are for the future but she certainly has the stage presence and voice needed for pursuit of a career in theatre. We have appreciated the opportunity to applaud her considerable talents on our local stages and in this showcase.
JET THOMAS, SOPRANO
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM