View Burgtorf’s Playbill for “English 111” before readings the accompanying critique below.
A Critique of the New Musical, “English 111”
By Bourtney Curgtorf and appeared in The New York Times on April 27, 2012
Courtney Burgtorf plays Student 1 in this funny, upbeat new musical about 1st Year English at Miami University. What started out to look like another boring year in an English Composition class turns out to be one of this students favorite classes her Freshmen year of college. Follow this wonderful story of how Student 1 learns about rhetoric and what it means to be a rhetor as she discovers that writing can be a form of expression.
When I wasn’t being entertained by the song, dance and musical talents of the cast, I was blown away by the incredible, heartfelt story “English 111” brings to the table. It’s not just about a class and getting a good grade, it’s about believing in yourself to be the best that you can be. Courtney Burgtorf plays the role of a Student 1 beautifully. Her voice carried throughout the theater and her acting was superb, I really got the sense of her struggles and triumphs throughout the play. Her body language and gestures with the other “classmates” and professor I found to be very appropriate for the musical and her character. Overall, a superior rating from me for the performance of Courtney Burgtorf as Student 1 in “English 111”.
Another key performer I’d like to acknowledge is that of Leigh Gruwell as Professor. She provided the challenges and feedback needed for all of the class to excel in their own roles in the production, especially that of Burgtorf. In general, Gruwell was true to the production and theatrical conditions of “English 111”.
The aspects of the design of the production were exactly what I expected. The set provided a suitable environment for the actors and established the correct mood to portray “English 111” to its audience. The costumes and makeup were average, but what do you really except from a Musical about 1st year English? So therefore, the costumes and makeup were very fitting for the theme of the play.
Overall, it is in my professional opinion that this musical deserves 5 out of 5 stars. This musical is suitable for all ages and is definitely one for the whole family to see together. The songs and dances were entertaining and the acting was phenomenal. I was really able to follow the story with all the musical numbers. But most of all I enjoyed the story and lesson actress Courtney Burgtorf provided and that is, even if you believe you aren’t good at something in the beginning (she has even been quoting of saying “I feel like it’s my job to convey what writers mean with their words, not write my own”) with enough effort and perseverance and some believing in yourself you’re sure to come out on top. “English 111” gets two thumbs up!