The empty seats of the Charles Winterwood Theater slowly began to fill Tuesday night as Rattlers and Tallahassee residents came out to preview the 22nd edition of the FAMU Connection.
The FAMU Connection is a recruitment tool that was created by Ronald Davis at the request of Frederick S. Humphries, former president of Florida A&M University.
The showcase, which features singing and dancing, is used to teach the FAMU’s history.
The show highlights the accomplishments and positive attributes of the university. It also includes special recognitions and prominent alumni.
The cast of nine sang an assortment of popular songs with lyrics tailored to address FAMU.
With very little publicity or planning time, audience members said they were impressed with the outcome of the performance.
“I think they did a pretty good job,” said Sandrine Lambletin, 21, a junior nursing student from Miami. “This show made me feel good to be a Rattler.”
The show opened with the inspirational song “I Gotta Keep Moving,” which was featured in the Essential Theater’s 2004 production of “Don’t Bother, Me I Can’t Cope.” The song was accompanied by a solo dance performance by Leona Bullard.
After the introduction of the company members, the show began to tell the 118-year history of the university from its beginnings in 1887 under the name of the State Normal College, to its recent acclaim as Black Enterprise magazine’s number one university for black students.
The show had a number of issues including sound problems and cast members stumbling over words and mispronouncing names of famous alumni.
Still, the audience did not seem to mind as they sang along and shouted words of praise to the company members throughout the show.
Although the show’s singing and dancing was excellent, it was apparent that some cast members outshined others.
The show had its share of highs and lows, but the crowd’s energy was at its peak when the ladies in the audience cheered as the male cast members sang “Ain’t Nothing in the World Like a FAMU Man.”
Another highlight was when cast member John Flower’s took the audience to church during “Good Vibrations.”
During the selection, Flower’s went out in the audience shaking hands while singing and dancing.
In between selections, the cast continued to boast FAMU’s history.
Cast member Antwuan Roper, 21, said he is proud to be a member of the FAMU Connection because in addition to teaching people about the University, it serves as a vital recruitment tool.
“The Connection is the whole reason I came to FAMU in the first place,” said Roper, a junior theater performance student from Avon Park.
Although the show needs to tighten up a bit before going on tour, the cast and crew of the FAMU Connection deserve Kudos for putting together an entire production in only eight days.