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Emerson Green Gala Will Tickle You Pink

Once again, Emerson’s talent will be put to work healing the planet at the Green Gala, an evening of Earth-centric entertainment, food, information, and merchandise, but this year, student groups will also be performing for a different kind of green.

Winners of the live show and a pre-judged film contest will each get $1,000 cash prizes, sponsored by Boston Green Realty and Emerson EcoReps.

The Green Gala will be held on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 6:15–10:00 pm, at the Paramount Mainstage. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for everyone else, and can be purchased at the Paramount Theatre box office (617-824-8000).

Jade Zaroff ’17, creator and producer of the event, said at first she wasn’t sure she wanted to make the gala a competition, because she worried that it “gave the impression that we’re not all in it together,” but she decided the benefits outweighed the risks.

“I think it’ll be a more exciting show,” said Zaroff, a Theatre Studies major.

Even without the contest, the show will dazzle. Sixteen groups and individual performers will take the stage to sing, dance, and act. There will be at least three comedy acts, a Poetry Project, instrumental music, and spoken word. If someone at Emerson has a talent, she or he will probably be at the Paramount on Friday night: Acapellics Anonymous, Noteworthy, Achoired Taste, Treble Makers, Musical Theatre Society, Emerson Urban Dance Theatre, Emerson Shakespeare Society, Emerson Comedy Workshop, Police Geese, Emerson Poetry Project, Freshman Musical Theatre Majors, Anthony Zambito (comedy sketch), Connor Abeles (rap and spoken word to instrumental), Jonah Ongman and Alex Henderson (dance to original film), Allegra Levy and Hannah Dwyer (vocals and guitar), and Dancers for Change, choreographed by Taylor McMahon. 

The only catch is, every piece has to be about the environment and/or sustainability in some way.

Emerson Urban Dance Theatre (UDT), a hip hop and rhythm tap group celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is coming back to the Gala for a repeat performance, said Artistic Director Kurt Joyce ’16. This year, the troupe will do a piece about the “importance of positive peer pressure when it comes to environmental awareness,” Joyce said.

“The messaging behind it is really cool, and I’m excited to see how effective it is,” Zaroff said.

Joyce said UDT got involved last year because supporting enterprises like Green Gala is part of its mission, but the other great thing about Green Gala is just the eclectic venue that it provides to students and groups on campus.

“This is the only event on campus where every student organization can perform together,” Joyce said. “I just think it’s a great performance and a great idea, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Judging the live performances will be a panel made up of VIPs from the world of theater, dance, education, nonprofits, and government—many of them Emerson alumni: Ken Cheeseman, actor and Emerson faculty member; Lee Gardner, artistic director of The Nora Theatre Company; Amanda Griffiths, legislative and communications director for the Massachusetts House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change; Christopher Hird, artistic manager of Boston Ballet School; Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president and executive director of the Back Bay Association; actor Eddie Mejia ’96; State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, D-Lenox; Dorothy Prince ’70, MA ’79, founder of Sojourns (Seeking our mothers…Ourselves); and Spiro Veloudos ’74, producing artistic director of The Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

The film entries are being judged by Kevin Bright ’76, executive producer of Friends and executive director of Emerson Los Angeles; David Alan Basche ’90, actor on The Exes; and Alysia Reiner, actress on Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away with Murder. The winning film will be screened at the Green Gala.

The performances will be the star of the show, but don’t miss the booths in the lobby, including Boston Green Realty, Broadway Green Alliance, Metawear, the Trust for Public Land, Emerson EcoReps, Enterprise CarShare, UNItiques, Earth Emerson, Step & Repeat (photo booth), photographers, and videographers.

Zaroff said it’s been “incredible” to see how so many facets of Emerson College, including President Lee Pelton who will speak at the event, has come together to make the event happen.

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