Nineties theme steals show

M.C. Hammer rapped, “U Can’t Touch This” 16 years ago. But after senior Marcus Simpson’s energetic revival of the 90s hit last weekend, the 300-person audience may believe that Hammer was talking about the up-beat dinner theater they were experiencing.

After 26 performances of 90s TV show reenactments, pop star impersonations, and old-school dancing, the dinner theater in the Union Ballroom proved to be untouchable. An impromptu audience sing-along to the Fresh Prince of Bel-air theme and a closing speech by President Sidney Ribeau added to the evening’s freshness.

Although it was the 18th year of the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives’s production, the “90s Soul” theme gave Friday and Saturday evening a new spin with a more recent blast into the past.

“This year is special because people were alive in the 90s,” said Tierney Grayson, senior, since in the past years the themes were 70s or 80s soul.

Junior Jontae Pratt’s favorite act was the music video “Remember the Time” reenactment, which was complete with Egyptian costumes and a spinning Michael Jackson.

“I remember turning to VH1 and waiting for the video to come on,” she said.

The flashback dinner theater is one the biggest productions the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives puts their time into each year, but the students are the main performers of the production. They dedicate their time to work on their individual acts throughout the year, before the rehearsals where it all comes together.

The rehearsals before the week of the performances were from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night, Grayson said. And for the five months beforehand, Grayson estimated that she worked about five or more hours a week.

“Over 100 people gave their time and energy to make this happen,” Ribeau told the audience.

From performers to administrators, techies to servers, the production was a conglomeration of people, ability and creativity.

Graduate student and four-year performer in the dinner theater Bobby Johnson saw the production as a great way to meet many different people and work outside of classes.

“[The dinner theater] gives students a chance to do more than school. Something that when they work hard, they feel good at the end of it,” Johnson said.

And he’s right, according to Grayson, a dancer in the group “Fly Girls.”

“The best part is the final moment – when you’re actually doing it,” she said.