12 sophomores took to the stage at East China Normal University on September 11 to perform NYU Shanghai’s 6th annual “Reality Show,” an original musical about life at NYU Shanghai created by the students themselves for the incoming freshman class. First launched by NYU to welcome its freshmen in 2006, and subsequently introduced to NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, the Reality Show is customized by students from each campus every year to tackle some of the situations new students may encounter -- from academic stress and homesickness to relationship issues and cross-cultural collision. Over the course of the show, cast members repeat the number for a 24-hour hotline, encouraging students to dial for support or counseling. “Go pick up the phone and call 021-2059-9999 anytime!” For the opening of the show, Kai Elwood-Dieu ’22 pretends he is still in rehearsals. Each summer, casts from NYU’s three global campuses convene in New York City to work together to decide on themes for each show. But each cast will adapt those themes to their unique environments so that the shows performed in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai are extremely different. (Pictured: Frank Yinqi Wang ’22, Astrid Matute ’22, and Rodrigo Reyes Gutierrez ’22 illustrate through dance that regardless of your spirituality or religion, you’re welcome in the NYU Shanghai community.) Cast members, who auditioned for roles in the preceding spring, spent two months in New York City during the summer break creating new content and improving their performing skills. Brainstorming ideas, composing melodies, writing scenes and lyrics, choreographing dances -- the process is all about teamwork. “When we went to New York, we genuinely formed friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Sam Ong ’22. “While working on the show, we exposed ourselves to each other and bonded over our creativity and vulnerability. I love the pieces we created because it encapsulated everything we wanted to represent in our freshman year of college and it was really beautiful to see how far we’ve come since our first year of college.” (Pictured: Ryan Hoover ’22 and Samuel Ong ’22 perform “Spiritualisea,” a song about uplifting and respecting one another in NYU Shanghai’s diverse community.) The musical maintained a light and fun tone even as it addressed serious topics such as sexual misconduct, body image, and mental illness. Photo By Nate Luo ’22 One scene depicted the confusion international students faced as first-year students lost in Chinese class. Photo by Nate Luo ’22 As he does every year, NYU President Andrew Hamilton flew in to welcome and watch the show with the Class of 2023. The first-year students loved the show! In addition, upperclassmen also came to show support for their fellow classmates. Bravo! Cast members celebrate a successful show backstage with NYU President Andrew Hamilton and his wife Jenny, Chancellor Yu Lizhong, and Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman.