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Musical Theatre Showcase will
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Musical Theatre Showcase will highlight graduating seniors

By Laura Fenton

Stripped of fancy costumes, sets and lighting, these musical numbers highlight solely the singing and dancing of the Theatre & Dance department’s upperclassmen.

“This is meant to showcase the students’ work, not hide the work beneath glitz and glam,” said Jacob Allen, University of Memphis Musical Theatre assistant professor. “It’s a celebration of what students have learned during their time here.”

The U of M Musical Theatre Showcase, a capstone project for the junior and senior Musical Theatre practicum course, is the first of its kind at the U of M. The Musical Theatre curriculum is in only its second year at the University.         

Performances are March 28 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Studio Theatre (room 137) in the U of M Theatre Building. Admission is free. The show lasts about one hour.

This showcase can serve as a scouting tool for local and national talent agents, managers, producers and casting directors to view new talent first-hand.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to invite people they think they might want to consider about jobs for the future, like agents,” said Janie Crick, senior Musical Theatre major. “I know a lot of us are still looking for jobs for after we graduate.”

U of M Musical Theatre students Janie Crick (left), Kristina Hanford (center), Christina Hernandez (right) and other cast members practice the final number of the Musical Theatre program's inaugural practicum showcase. Peformances are March 28 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.
U of M Musical Theatre students Janie Crick (left), Kristina Hanford (center), Christina Hernandez (right) and other cast members practice the final number of the Musical Theatre program's inaugural practicum showcase. Performances are March 28 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.

The showcase will feature a repertory of 12 scenes from various musicals, such as Kiss Me, Kate; Evita; The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein and Company.

Each selection features a different graduating senior in a part to highlight his or her talents. Every student in the practicum course is in the show’s ensembles.

Crick will star in “Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and “Deep Love” from Young Frankenstein.

“The demand for this sort of educational experience nationally, and certainly in this area, has grown tremendously,” Allen said. “There are a lot of students looking for musical theatre programs.”

The Department of Theatre & Dance has a tradition of producing musicals but did not have a specific Musical Theatre program until recently. Because the elements crucial to the formation of the new programming were already at the U of M, “We were a logical player to jump into the fray,” Allen said.

Musical Theatre students study dance, theatre, music and musical theatre in the four-year BFA program.

“It’s a program that will grow over time, especially when we have more students in it,” Allen said.

Currently, there are 30 students with the designated major.

For more information about the Musical Theatre program or upcoming performances, contact the Department of Theatre & Dance at 678-2523.
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