McMurry Theatre: A Semester in Review


Any university’s theatre department should be something to be proud of and McMurry’s Theatre Department is no different. Every year without fail, McMurry’s theatre students and staff work hard to create simultaneously both thoughtful and entertaining productions throughout the year. This 2019 fall semester featured vivacious, high-spirited plays that were sure to make an engaging night for any audience. With the return of the Homecoming musical, and the quick-witted humor of Neil Simon, fall 2019 was filled with many laughs and good cheer.

The first play was during McMurry’s Homecoming celebration and was the first musical to be produced at McMurry in six years. You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, directed by Kerry Goff, brought livelihood and pure-hearted joy centerstage for the Abilene community to enjoy. With a bright, colorful set and a cast of both new freshman and seniors alike, the show took an endless amount of hands and hours to create, but the result was four fabulous performances that received no small amount of applause at each end. The small but talented cast of Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and Schroeder were played by Jared Hainsel, Madi Melbourne, MaKenna Arispe, Kevin Roberts, Victoria Picon, and Elmer Mejia, respectively. Along with an exceptional technical crew working behind the scenes to create a fantastic show each night, McMurry’s theatre students deserve every last bit of the applause.

To finish off the fall season, the McMurry Theatre Department put on Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple directed by David Ainsworth. A laughter-filled romp with non-stop jokes, quips, and witty remarks that lit up audience’s faces night after night. There wasn’t a dull scene to be found in this particular play, and as the female version of the original The Odd Couple, the production allowed the spotlight to shine on many of the theatre department’s actresses, both new and old. The two main characters, Olive and Florence, were played by Hayli Isbell and Holly Bentea, both of whom put on excellent performances. Their eccentric group of friends amped up the giggles and were portrayed excellently by actresses Symone Fiedler, Hailey Rodgers, Bailee Walker, and MacKenzie Farias alongside two Spanish brothers played by Jared Hainsel and Elmer Mejia. Neil Simon plays often require many tight and fast reactions on the actors’ parts, but the McMurry Theatre Department definitely did not fail to deliver.

Although the fall semester is coming to a close, McMurry’s Theatre Department’s theatrical season isn’t over yet! Starting off 2020 is the esteemed Luigi Pirandello’s Cap and Bells to be directed by David Ainsworth and is sure to be an intriguing watch. Later The Cocktail Hour by A. R. Gurney is to be directed by student Kevin Roberts, as a senior project; and, finally, the 2019-2020 year shall end with a collection of student directed plays as the capstone to the Directing I class in the spring.