If you have not yet heard of the 2022 Acalympic Games, aca-scuse me? In the great words of “Pitch Perfect 2,” let’s talk-apella.
No Strings Attached, or NSA for short, is BU’s own Disney/Broadway a cappella group, one of 10 official groups at the school. NSA performed their biannual semester show on Saturday, Nov. 19, capturing a semester of hard work in one aca-motional night.
The performance featured two main attractions — the 10 a cappella songs sung by NSA and an Olympic-themed video that was made by their members over the course of the semester. The video was broken down into four, five-minute parts, which were interwoven between the songs.
The videos centered around the fictional 2022 Acalympic Games, a competition between the rival red and blue teams. Although the red team got out to an early lead and attempted to take out members of the blue team with unethical strategies, the blue team ended up coming back to win in the final competition of the games — the couch bench.
The videos served as a way for the audience to get to know all of the members of NSA and see their personalities shine. Kelly Wang, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, attended the show and enjoyed the video.
“I think it’s a great introduction to everyone in the group,” Wang said. “I like how it shows everyone’s comedic side, especially to bench a couch, I thought that was really funny.”
Beyond just introducing everyone, the video was also humorous and parodied movies like “Rocky” by including a training montage that ended with two members of the blue team running up the stairs to Appalachian Collegiate Center, like Rocky running up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Former NSA member Craig Bottner, ‘22, found that the video captured the essence of the group.
“We really loved it down in the front here, all the alumni,” Bottner said. “We have not seen some of these guys in a while since we are not in Binghamton anymore, so it is nice to see them having fun and doing all their inside jokes. It’s great to see all of their personalities come out in the video.”
The first song of the night was “Wait For Me” from the Broadway show “Hadestown.” It featured three solos from Jenna Zipparo, NSA president and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, Isabella Scarpati, who serves as both public relations director and assistant music director for NSA and is a senior majoring in psychology and Paul Lloyd, vice president for NSA and a junior majoring in psychology.
The song got the group off to a strong start and Alanah Fitzgerald, a junior majoring in math and economics, found it to be one of the highlights of the night.
“The music is so beautiful and I love when [Zipparo] stands on the stage,” Fitzgerald said. “[Lloyd] does really well in it too.”
The show continued with “Colors of the Wind” from the Disney movie “Pocahontas,” “Stupid with Love” from “Means Girls the Musical” and “Gaston” from the movie “Beauty in the Beast.” In particular, Gaston was a standout, as Logan Rehberg — treasurer for NSA and junior majoring in integrative neuroscience — who played Gaston, captured the heart of the character with his voice and mannerisms.
The final song of the first half of the show was the song “Phantom of the Opera” from — you guessed it — the show “Phantom of the Opera.” Once again, Zipparo and Lloyd gave spectacular solos that highlighted the choreography and their voices. Zipparo’s ability to hit high notes was on full display and had the audience on the edge of their seats. Wang said the performance did the song justice.
“The highlight of it especially was the high notes where Gerard’s character in the movie wanted her to sing so they mimicked that and I really enjoyed it,” Wang said.
NSA came out of intermission with the songs “You Matter to Me” from the show “Waitress,” “Hunchback Medley” from the movie “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Disney Villains Medley,” combining songs from the movies “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King” and “The Princess and the Frog.” The “Disney Villains Medley” was beautiful to watch, as Ursula, Scar and Dr. Facilier competed on stage for the audience’s attention. Justin Frank, music director for NSA and a sophomore double-majoring in chemistry and theater, portrayed Dr. Facilier. Frank said the medley was a great piece to choose for the show.
“I think it really sums up our essence,” Frank said. “We start with the main Disney theme but we get to dive into these villainous characters we love from our childhood. Dr. Facilier in particular is unique because of his showmanship.”
The penultimate song of the night was “Kiss the Girl,” also from “The Little Mermaid.” This song was of particular note as all of the NSA alumni in the crowd were invited to come up and sing along with the current members. As the alumni came up and hugged the current members, it was clear that NSA is more of an aca-family than just a cappella group. Frank said he enjoyed singing along with the alumni.
“Getting them back on stage for our alumni song was really such a joy because I missed singing with them,” Frank said.
Finally, the show ended with “From Now On” from the movie “The Greatest Showman.” The song combined elements of “From Now On” and “Rewrite the Stars” to create an emotionally powerful melange that ended the show on a high note — pun intended. It was clear that NSA had won the heart of the crowd with their hilarious videos and beautiful singing as the crowd rose for a well-earned standing ovation to end the night.