Theatre students rehearse

Theatre Students Ready to Inspire at the Centennial Gala

Issue 19: October 25, 2023

This week, the air is electric as students brim with anticipation, eagerly awaiting the commencement of McMurry’s homecoming festivities. Amidst this excitement, a group of students have been diligently planning a remarkable project. Join me for a behind-the-scenes glimpse as McMurry Theatre readies itself to present an inspiring and emotionally stirring performance, set to take center stage at the Centennial Gala!

This performance came to life when university president Dr. Sandra Harper approached Neena McLain (head of the Theatre department) and asked if her students would be willing to perform at the Centennial Gala. She was met with an ecstatic “YES,” and the preparations for such a show have been in the making since the beginning of the school year. Rehearsals began a few weeks ago and the fire and energy for this exhibition have continued to rise in the hearts of its performers.

This performance features three lead singers, two lead dancers, and an ensemble who will be performing “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman. I interviewed Aby Brown (soloist) and Zain Hargrove (ensemble), to ask how it has been working on this project.

“This project has been one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on,” Brown said. “Normally with theatre you know you’ll have a small audience, but now we’re performing in front of hundreds of donors and alumni! Getting to be one of the people to tell our story is a pleasure!” Brown is a junior with a BA in Theatre and English, and she is one of the vocalists performing at the Centennial Gala. It has been a long process but she says, “the best part of the production is the fun of it. I get to be around my closest friends and just sing, dance, and tell a story.”

Hargrove shares a similar testament explaining that this experience has been extremely different compared to what he’s used to. He hopes to, “gain some experience on learning a musical number really quickly that I can use in future musicals.” Hargrove, a sophomore Theatre Education Major, explains how much he values this opportunity, claiming that it will be very useful to him even after the event has concluded.

Both students voice how excited they are to perform this piece, and that the hard work of the cast is so very ready to be revealed to an audience. “I’m happy with what we have right now, and I feel like after these final rehearsals, I will feel the proudest” says Hargrove.

Brown also excitedly announces, “I think we tell a beautiful story that people will be talking about for years. I want to show that even though our department is small we can pack a punch!” Brown continues to emphasize the emotional value of this performance in her interview stating, “Everyone who’s attended McMurry has a different story, a different path they took to get them here. This song brings out so much happiness about being different and owning it. I hope that everyone who sees this can think about their own journey and feel incredibly proud of who they are and what they’ve accomplished.” These students have been working extremely hard to create not only a memorable performance for those attending the Centennial Gala, but also a memorable experience that they will carry with them even after their journey at McMurry has ended. Don’t forget to wish our Theatre department the very best with a hearty “break a leg” for this amazing performance!