A travel through history: Tintypes the play

“Tintypes,” a musical revue, opened Friday in Quirk Theatre. The show was originally conceived by Mary Kyte, with Mel Marvin and Gary Pearle. Eastern’s production of “Tintypes” was directed by Wallace Bridges and featured over 45 songs.

The music was performed live onstage, featuring eight musicians directed by Howard Cass. The songs for the show were written between the years of 1876 and 1920.

The musical is set loosely between the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century in America.

As a revue, it does not follow a specific plotline. Instead, several stories, historic events and songs are woven together to give the audience a feeling for the time. Issues such as immigration, equal rights, working conditions and the divide between the rich and the poor are brought up.

Several historical figures, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Emma Goldman and Bert Williams also appear in the show.

Jackie Odien, the Stage Manager for the show, said that her favorite part was, “the few seconds before the show starts; that moment of anticipation [before] you see the audience dive in with the characters.”

Projections were used in this show, and in those few seconds before the actors came onstage, historical photographs were shown on the three screens of the set. This, along with the old-fashioned songs helped evoke the historical aspect of the show.

“What I found most interesting was that the show pulled together so many period songs that flowed together seamlessly, while also telling little parts of history in between,” Nikki Pietron, a sophomore at Eastern, said. “It turned out to be incredibly entertaining even though it was a historical piece.”

Pietron said that her favorite songs from the show were “‘Fifty-Fifty,’ ‘Bill Bailey’ and any of the songs that Nick Brown and Matthew Webb sang. Those pieces were the most powerful, entertaining and showed some amazing vocal range.”

“Brown, who plays Williams, had a resonant singing voice, and kept everyone in the theater entertained,” said Katelyn Coberly, a junior at EMU.

“I recognized about half the songs and the others were catchy, entertaining and fit with the time period,” Coberly said. “They really captured the essence of the time.”

Other main draws for the show would be the choreography performed throughout, the Vaudeville scene in Act II and the “silent film” clips between acts. Overall, the show was in equal parts entertaining, thought-provoking, educational and hilarious.

“Tintypes” will appear in Quirk Theatre again on Dec. 4, 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.

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