Last night I gave my two weeks at the restaurant I work at in Chapel Hill. Nothing that has happened recently, such as the last day of class, my final exams, etc. has really given me a sense that college is over. But last night telling my boss that in two weeks I will be leaving Chapel Hill for good really hit me. My three years here (3 because I started college at Elon University) have really been full of the richest experiences that I could have hoped for.
Coming to UNC I jumped right into theatre and found the amazing LAB! theatre group which is completely student run. My first show at UNC was “From Up Here” by Liz Flahive and it was my first connection to the students and friends that would become a permanent fixture in my life while here. I got a chance to witness the talent that my program possessed and learned a lot about Viewpoints and various approaches to character work.
My next project was sort of a happy accident. Having been involved in musicals heavily in high school I was having withdrawal since I hadn’t been involved with one since my time at Elon. I found out about this musical theatre group on campus called Pauper Players and they were doing a show called “Broadway Melodies.” The show is three student written pop-culture based musicals that are paired with popular broadway musical numbers with changed lyrics to fit each shows context. That year they did “Mean Girls: The Musical”, “A Very Tarantino Musical”, and “Glee: The Musical.” I remember that I auditioned with “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story" because at that time I had no idea what a musical theatre “book” was and I thought it was totally acceptable to make a cut of Bernstein and Sondheim. Alas I did make the cast as both “Aaron Samuels” in “Mean Girls” and “Will Shuster” in “Glee.”
I had such an incredible time during that two weeks of intense rehearsal and performance. At that time we still had our performance space called “The Cabaret” which unfortunately was torn down last year to make way for the campus Wendy’s. Truly a loss to the Pauper community. The Cabaret had been around since Pauper’s founding in 1989. To say the least, it is greatly missed.
During that same time, Olivia Myrick who co-directed “Mean Girls” and played “Rachel Berry” in “Glee” convinced me to audition for Pauper’s spring musical “All Shook Up.” We were in the middle of rehearsal for “Broadway Melodies” and she basically kicked me out and made me audition. I couldn’t have been happier to have received that kick because I was literally the last person to walk into the audition room (and sing “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” of course) and after a round of callbacks I had another role at UNC to look forward to!
To be continued...