Last updateWed, 24 Feb 2021 1pm


Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

“Seven Guitars” Rocks Two River Theater

Seven GuitarsSeven Guitars, directed by Brandon J. Dirden and currently being performed at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, is an emotional ride comprised of fantastic performances and an immersive story. 

The play, written by August Wilson in 1995 and first performed in 1996 on Broadway, takes place in the year 1948 in the backyard of a Pittsburgh Hill District home. It focuses on seven African American characters, one being Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton (Kevin Mambo), a blues singer who is released from jail to find that his recently released song is a hit. Offered the chance at a record deal from a major label in Chicago, he decides to return to see his old girlfriend Vera (Christina Acosta Robinson), and persuade her and some old friends to join him in Chicago. 

Wilson, famous for plays such as Fences and regarded as one of the most influential American playwrights, explores themes and ideas in his work that are relevant in contemporary times. Racial prejudice, masculinity, the influence of women on men, and the idea of taking chances are all explored, and Dirden uses these as the main focus of the play. 

Dirden, in his directorial debut and also an actor himself, brings the audience into the world of these characters and sucks them into their stories. He also balances the tone of the play perfectly: it has its poignant, heart-wrenching moments, but it can also be hilarious and stirring. Despite the longer length (with an intermission the entire runtime is about two hours and 45 minutes), there is no moment that feels out of place or unimportant. From just the mundane moments in these characters’ interactions, Dirden fleshes these people out more and keeps the audience invested in what happens to them. 

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Blue Hawk Records Selects Artists for December Compilation

Blue Hawk RecordsMusic has a way of bringing people together, and that’s exactly what Blue Hawk Records, Monmouth’s student run record label, achieves.  Blue Hawk Records is one of Monmouth’s most diversified clubs; it is professional, fun, expressive, and distinctive, and is completely unique to the University. 

Every semester, Blue Hawk Records records and produces a compilation CD of around four to six original songs. Different artists and bands come into the recording studio here on campus and record original work that is then put onto the CD. Blue Hawk Records hosts club meetings every Wednesday and is open to students of all majors. 

On Monday, Sept. 28, Blue Hawk Records held auditions for the compilation CD being produced this fall. The auditions began at 7:30 p.m. and took place in Woods Theater right here on campus. The audition process consisted of various bands and solo artists performing a song selection in front of the club representatives and the advisor. A lot of great talent of all different musical genres was showcased at the auditions and everyone that observed was floored by the expertise. 

Mike Grant, a sophomore music industry student, is one of the A&R representatives for Blue Hawk Records. He was one of the members of the club who sat in at the auditions and listened to the different artists to get a feel for what their music style was like. “We have never had a record that was all one genre,” Grant said. “We have considered doing a theme record, but that’s all based on what the artists present. We normally don’t have repeats, but it has happened in the past. Blue Hawk Records is growing.” 

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“The Intern” Works As A Feel-Good Comedy

InternThe new Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway flick The Intern takes a fresh approach to comedy. It’s a film that is not only for young adults but senior citizens too, as most of the jokes are puns that the older class can relate to. 

When I first saw the film’s runtime, I thought two hours was far too long for a comedy. However, the extra minutes allowed for excellent character development and I was able to connect with each and every character in the plot. The movie kept my eyes glued to the screen because each scene was full of surprises that unraveled throughout the story.

The movie opens with a retired Ben (De Niro) searching for a purpose now that his wife has passed away. He wants to fill a hole in his life and sees a flier for senior interns at an online clothing company called “About the Fit.” He gets the job but doesn’t immediately click with the rest of the young, technologically-inclined employees and still carries around a briefcase with a calculator and flip phone. 

“I feel like everyone’s uncle around here,” Ben says at one point during the film, and accurately so; he is a kind-hearted, respectful, old-fashioned guy who often doles out words of wisdom. Jules (Hathaway), the company’s CEO and founder, is the opposite: she at first is a rude, bitter, fast-paced woman trying to juggle her personal life and a career, but ultimately finds inner peace through her interactions with Ben.

Originally, Jules isn’t interested in working with someone Ben’s age, but as the film progresses, they eventually form a bond with mutual respect. The other employees also start to really like Ben and his old-fashioned style and values; he becomes the guy everyone wants to be friends with and the guy who you can trust for a helping hand. 

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“Spring Awakening” Revives Broadway Production

Spring AwakeningOn Sept. 27, a revival production of Spring Awakening opened on Broadway. Unlike any other production ever done before, this version of the show combines singing and American Sign Language (ASL), making it accessible to both deaf and hearing audiences. 

The original production of Spring Awakening, based on an 1891 play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, opened on Broadway in December 2006, where it won 8 Tony Awards. Its cast included Lea Michele, Johnathon Groff, and John Gallagher Jr.; it then closed in January 2009. 

In the summer of 2015, the Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, CA, ran a short run of the show where it mixed singing and ASL. Each main character is played by two actors—one hearing actor, who does the singing and speaking, and is called the ‘voice’ of the character, and the other actor, who is deaf or hard of hearing, does the ASL portion. The ASL and choreography are beautifully blended as well, making the production look flawless and polished. Several actors do both the speaking and ASL parts, especially for smaller characters or ensemble parts. 

This mix of speaking and ASL makes the musical completely unlike anything else that has ever been done on Broadway before. While Deaf West Theatre is famous for doing productions in this style, this is the first time one of their musicals has transferred to Broadway. It has received nothing but praise from critics. The show has also been slightly altered to make the deaf characters fit even better—for example, the character of Moritz Stiefel, who was always written as a teenager who had trouble in school, is now written as if the character is deaf, which only compounds his problems with his schoolwork and causes him to get into trouble with his teachers, since he appears to be slacking off in class. 

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Director of “Foreign Puzzle” Visits Pollak Theater

Foreign PuzzleOn Friday evening, Sept. 25, the documentary Foreign Puzzle was shown at Pollak Theater with its director, Chithra Jeyaram, in attendance.

With a small crowd present, the film carried a strong message that was capable of impacting many.

Foreign Puzzle tells the story of Sharon Marroquin, a choreographer, elementary school teacher, and mother who is battling breast cancer. Filmed over a period of 18 months, the documentary follows Marroquin as she creates an interpretive dance show to express her fight with breast cancer that will be performed in front of a large audience.

Prior to watching this film, I had very little knowledge on what it is actually like to battle breast cancer. I know plenty of people whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, but I never understood what they really went through. After viewing Foreign Puzzle, it made me see the true struggle of living a normal life while fighting such a deadly disease.

Marroquin lives a busy life as it is, yet she still manages to roll with the punches as a single mother who loves her son Dali very much. Dali is in elementary school, and does not have a complete understanding of what his mother is going through. When Marroquin asks her son how he would feel if she died, Dali responds by saying, “I’d be really sad,” as he plays around on the couch. Though Dali cannot quite grasp what his mother struggles through, he understands how much his mother loves him.

In a touching scene, Marroquin is in her son’s bed reading a book to him before he goes to sleep. Once Marroquin concludes the reading, her son quickly falls asleep and she tucks him into bed. Before she leaves the room, she rests her hands on his head and thanks God for all the blessings in her life, including her health.

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Asbury Park Zombie Walk Lives to See Another Day

ZombieAfter flatlining over the summer, Asbury Park will be holding its annual Zombie Walk this fall—solidifying that the walk, just like its members, has come back from the dead.

Founded by Jason Meehan in 2008, the Asbury Park Zombie Walk has served as a haven to the undead, breaking the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of zombies in 2010 and 2013 and hosting thousands of participants every year. However, on Aug. 20, its creator posted on the event’s Facebook page that the walking dead would walk no more.

“The New Jersey Zombie Walk has died,” Meehan said on the Facebook page, which has over 19,000 followers. “Its death was not sudden, and every attempt was made to revive the deceased.”

Meehan credited the extreme exponential growth and popularity of the walk to be its true demise and cause of death. He, along with everyone else involved in the creation of the walk, wanted to keep it free to the public so any brain-eater could stroll without having to purchase some kind of ticket or entrance fee. But with the increase of zombies came the inevitable rise in the cost of the walk through safety measures and vendor expenses—a number that became too large for Meehan to continue on.

“I will also eternally be grateful to the Asbury Park Boardwalk for hosting our horde and doing everything possible time and again to minimize what expenses they could,” Meehan went on to say in the social media epitaph. “Above all, the Zombie Walk could never have happened without the help of the countless volunteers, family and friends who collectively have put in tens of thousands of hours of work year after year to make the event happen, never demanding anything more than the good time that they had being a part of the Zombie Walk team.”

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Mac Miller Releases “GO:OD AM”

On Sept. 18, Mac Miller released his third studio album entitled GO:OD AM, which is his first record on the major label Warner Bros. Records. His album tour began on Sept. 20, stopping in New York City on Sept. 27 and returning to the Big Apple again on Dec. 16.

Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, is a 23-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh, PA. He’s been making music ever since 2007 and gained popularity in 2010 when he went on his first tour and sold out every show. GO:OD AM has been highly anticipated by Miller fans, and he has been working hard to not disappoint them. Miller tweeted, “I put 2.5 years of my life into making this album,” and also, “I made 9 different albums until I finally arrived at this one,” which showcases the effort he put into GO:OD AM.

Ever since the album came out last week, I have been listening to it as much as possible to get an accurate feel for Miller’s work. I have listened to Miller a small amount in the past and I would not consider myself his biggest fan, but being very into rap, I decided to check out GO:OD AM. After hearing it in its entirety, I can definitely say that Miller has put forth a solid compilation. 

When I originally listened to the first single, “100 Grandkids,” I really did not like it. However, after exploring the album in full, it has become one of my favorite tracks. “Break the Law” and “Clubhouse” were also released ahead of the album, but I didn’t give them much of a chance until the full release of GO:OD AM.

Overall, I would say the record has a very chill vibe. It’s an easy listen and is generally very mellow, which is something I really liked about it. However, there were a few songs (“When in Rome,” “Cut the Check,” and “Break the Law”) that I found to be slightly out of place. Those tracks are a bit more aggressive and don’t really fit into the laidback theme that the rest of the album portrays. 

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Blue Hawk Records Holding Open Auditions

Hawk RecordWith the new semester underway, Monmouth University’s student-led record label is back for its seventh consecutive semester! For those who have never heard of Blue Hawk Records, the on-campus record label was founded by Monmouth students back in 2013 with the help of professor and Chair of the Music Department, Joe Rapolla. Since then, the Music Industry students of Blue Hawk Records have released an album every fall and spring semester, and most recently, their first summer album.

At the beginning of each semester, the Blue Hawk team holds auditions to decide who will be featured on that semester’s compilation. While the auditions used to be exclusive to music majors, Blue Hawk Five, released Spring 2015, opened up auditions to the entire school. The album boasted diversity with artists like Brian Perrino, a mathematics major, and Tatiana Walia, a criminal justice major. 

This semester, Blue Hawk is following the same format and opening up auditions to all students and alumni of Monmouth University. After the auditions, the chosen artists will participate in discussions about the album and head to Lakehouse Recording Studio, a world-class professional studio located in Asbury Park. 

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“Captive” is an Engaging True Story

CaptiveI have to say that the movie Captive was a job well done. It had everything I look for in movies: emotional and inspirational scenes, decent acting, strong supporting characters and one brave heroine who is actually a real person, because Captive is based on a true story. Just how much truth there is to the story is for the viewer to decide in this dramatic and bittersweet film.

Captive is about a young female named Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) who is a recovering drug addict. Smith goes to a church-based recovery group so she can gain custody of her daughter Paige (Elle Graham) and have a second chance to be a mother. Soon after we meet Smith, she is kidnapped by Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo), the antagonist in this unfortunately true and sad story. 

It is later revealed that Nichols was sentenced to jail on rape charges, but escaped a prison sentence because he found out from his lawyers that he had a son and didn’t want go to jail. When he captures Smith, he admits to her that he did not rape anyone and that the girl who accused him was his ex–girlfriend, who he claimed he loved. Throughout the movie, Smith talks to him and gains a better understanding of who he truly is. She reads to him The Purpose Driven Life, a book written by Rick Warren, which talks about how God has a purpose for everyone in their life, including being forgiven.

Mara’s acting was exceptional  and proved that she can stand as a strong leading lady in film. She portrayed Smith as a brave, good-hearted person who struggled in her life. Mara gave the audience a rollercoaster full of emotions: fear, sadness, hope, and pain. She made you feel for her character as she too overcame her demons. 

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“America’s Got Talent” Crowns Season 10 Winner

America TalentSeason 10 of America’s Got Talent wrapped up on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and the winner turned out to be a crowd favorite.

The episode began with a montage of the season and the judges’ opinions of who was going to win, each saying that it was a hard decision because of all the talent. Up first was popular musical act the Craig Lewis Band, who performed a Foreigner song.

Following the commercial break were the three magicians: the first was Oz Perlman, who performed a card trick, followed by Derek Hughes and Freelusion with Uzeyer, all of whom put on impressive acts. 

Comedians Drew Lynch and Gary Vider hosted a “joke off,” which had the crowd in a constant state of laughter. 

Perhaps the most astonishing act was the Professional Regurgitator, a performer who, true to his name, swallows and then spits up various objects in near perfect condition. This act was a crowd favorite, but it did not take the crown. Neither did Piff The Magic Dragon or comedians Lynch and Vider. 

Taking the crown was none other than Paul Zerdin, professional ventriloquist. As part of his act, he pulled judge Howie Mandel on the stage and put a moving mask on him. Zerdin performed without touching Mandel and used him for comedic relief, making him do various tasks while acting as his voice. 

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Halsey’s “Badlands” is Worth the Listen

HalseyJust three weeks ago on Aug. 28, Halsey, birth name Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, released her debut album entitled Badlands. Her album peaked in the United States at number two and has been getting a lot of attention in the media recently. 

In case you haven’t heard of her before, Halsey is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter and New Jersey native with outstanding talent, a killer voice and a wildly fun personality, which you can see shine through in all of her social media posts. Her music is typically categorized as indie pop or electropop, but I personally think her music slips into multiple different genres and sometimes cannot be categorized as just one. Overall, I would highly recommend giving Badlands a listen, no matter what genre of music you are typically into. 

Halsey’s style is the perfect combination of underground indie music mixed with radio-playable pop, topped off with an entirely unique vibe. Badlands is the type of music that takes you to another world when you listen to it, and that is something I really appreciate about Halsey’s work on this album. 

Badlands is a concept album, which is another really incredible part about it. The concept Halsey conveys with Badlands is the isolated state of mind she was in whilst writing the album. “Badlands” represents a fictitious town she created, originally inspired by Las Vegas. 

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151