First-years, sophomores and juniors who attended the resident counselor show during orientation week will remember hearing the talented Michael Harmon singing a heartfelt ballad called “Most Beautiful Girl on the Quad.” The song, an Amherst-themed version of the Flight of the Conchords song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” was my first impression of the charismatic Resident Counselor. There’s probably no better person to welcome new students to Amherst. A natural performer, Harmon is beloved on campus for his charm and infectious energy.

Three weeks away from the show’s grand opening, I talked with the directors and producer of “Into the Woods” which will be performed at Orr Rink, May 4-7. Producer Jayson Paul ’16, director A. Scott Parry, musical director Mark Swanson and orchestra liaison Sam Rosenblum ’16 were eager to discuss what this musical means to them and why they hope to revive the college’s tradition of putting on an annual musical.

Q: What does “Into the Woods” mean to you and what effect do you hope it has on this campus?

The impossible happened: Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar and the Academy owned up to its lack of diversity. The #OscarsSoWhite controversy emerged in the last couple of years, but the issue became even more pertinent this year when there were no actors of color nominated. After Neil Patrick Harris danced around the subject last year, the Academy chose straight-shooter Chris Rock to be this year’s host. When it was first announced that he would be hosting the Oscars for the second time, everyone knew Rock wouldn’t keep quiet about the Academy’s lack of diversity.

Stuart McKenzie ’16 presented his music composition thesis, “The Making of a Hat,” last Saturday night in Buckley Recital Hall. The recital consisted of five different pieces, performed by singers and a string quartet. Watching McKenzie’s hard work come to life was a true joy, and it reminded me of the wide-ranging talents present on this campus. The arts and living team interviewed McKenzie to learn more about his experience of executing a music composition thesis.

Q: What was your inspiration behind “The Making of a Hat?”

After growing up in public housing in Hartford, Anette Sanderson is now dedicating her life to making Hartford a better place to live. Sanderson, the executive director of the Hartford Housing Authority, also serves as the chair of Amherst’s alumni advisory board.

Transitioning to Amherst

Welcome to Amherst College, where the struggle is ever-present and stress seems to be your permanent roommate. But when the readings, exams and papers start to suffocate you, there are lots of places on campus to go for a much-deserved break.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” was released on May 1 and made close to $200 million in its opening weekend alone. The sequel to Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” has been long awaited, but does it live up to its predecessor? I write not as a Marvel Comics expert but as a big fan of the first movie and of each of the individual superheroes’ movies. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is equally as fun, action-packed and humorous as its predecessor, but as many reviewers have stated, it doesn’t live up to the standard of Whedon’s 2012 hit.