Friday, April 12, 2024

MTSU Theatre students bring “[Title of Show]” to campus

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Featured photo courtesy of Chris Cooper

Story by Luke Cameron

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“[Title of Show]” is an entirely student-run and student-produced musical coming to Middle Tennessee State University’s Deborah K. Anderson Studio Theatre from March 23 to 26.

Student director Chris Cooper explicated the show’s premise. “[Title of Show]” is about two friends who set out to write a musical with two other friends, about two friends who set out to write a musical with two other friends,” he said.

Adding another layer to the meta nature of the material, the show was originally written in the early 2000s by two friends who had set out to write and stage a musical with two other friends.

Cast members for the show include MTSU student actors Patrick Jones, Seth Pratt, Emma Groves, Jenna Anderson and MTSU faculty member Angela Tipps.

Cooper reports that ever since auditions occurred back in October and the rehearsal process began in January, the four student cast members have grown close.

“They all knew each other, but they’re definitely a lot closer now than they were at the start of the semester,” said Cooper.

The affinity amongst cast members even led to a recent sleepover, but one to which Director Cooper was not invited (in order to maintain the requisite professional distance between director and cast). He was buoyed, though, by the fact that the time during the sleepover was apparently put to good use.

“They came back the next day, and they had done research together,” Cooper said.

In the musical, Jones plays Jeff, the somewhat nerdy composer of the show business endeavor. Pratt plays his best friend, Hunter, the wacky book writer. Anderson plays Heidi, a seasoned actress with experience in the limelight. Finally, Groves plays Susan, a somewhat jaded thespian. Tipps plays music director Mary.

The approximately 90-minute show has many songs, and Cooper said the question it implicitly asks the characters and also the audience is, “At what point do we sacrifice authenticity for art?” According to him, the show’s message is, “Being true to yourself is the way to go.”

About 30 individuals are involved in the MTSU production in some way, and these include crew Vanessa Jarman, Kal Walter, Julia Vairetta and Jayla Scott.

The show, which runs Saturday through Tuesday, promises to be a hot ticket, especially since the Anderson Studio Theatre is not much larger than a janitor’s closet.

Cooper is anxious to showcase the student actor talent, some of which is making its campus debut.

“We have freshmen who’ve never performed before at MTSU,” Cooper said.

Furthermore, even though the show is about the production of a theatre show, Cooper said that audience members are sure to have a good time even if their experience with the stage is null.

“There’s a lot to connect to, even if you haven’t done anything with theatre.”

The director emphasized that though the product will be first-rate, the process of developing it throughout the rehearsal process has been just as gratifying.

“Going to rehearsal every night feels like an escape,” Cooper said.

Showtimes Saturday, Monday and Tuesday are at 7:30 p.m. Showtime Sunday is at 2:00 p.m. The Anderson Theatre is located on the first floor of Boutwell Dramatic Arts building by the vending machines.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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