By Madeleine Barbeau
Watch out, Roosevelt. CCPA has just debuted their new faces onto the theatre scene. The freshmen of the theatre conservatory just wrapped up their showcase, in which they introduced themselves to the city and to their fellow CCPA performers. The showcase was built around the theme of ‘new beginnings” and featured the talents of 61 new students singing, acting, and dancing.
Annabella Oddo, freshman musical theatre major, said her favorite part of the showcase was watching everyone’s performance. “My favorite part of creating our showcase was seeing the progression of everyone from day one to closing night,” Oddo said. “It was a beautiful experience.”
Audience member Andrea Lee agrees that the show was indeed very special. “I went to the show four times because I was so moved by it,” Lee said. “Every time the group sang the closing number, ‘Seasons of Love,’ I cried. I can’t wait to see them in future productions.”
Freshman musical theatre major Quinn Simmons said his favorite experience of the rehearsal was when their director asked them to think of their first performance. “There was a day when our director asked us to think about all the excitement ahead of us as we rehearsed our opening number, ‘Just Ahead’,” Simmons said. “We all began thinking about how excited we are to be here doing what we love for the next four years. We were all weeping with joy.”
Nathaniel Thomas, also a musical theatre major, chimed in with a moment he’ll never forget, “The rehearsal where we performed our acts to each other for the first time was so inspiring and exciting. There was an electric energy in the room,” Thomas said.
For some involved with the Freshman Showcase, it was intense and tiring. Musical theatre dance major, Jordon Taylor, said the long rehearsals could become exhausting. “We’ve been rehearsing since the middle of August,” Taylor said. “We had rehearsal every night during the week until our performances.”
Musical theatre major Sydney Rudd explained the process of finding the right song for her solo. “I did a lot of reflecting on my past when picking a song that I felt best represented me. I brought several choices to our directors and we sang through several options before we agreed that ‘Dancing All the Time’ from ‘Big’ was the best option for me and the show,” Rudd said.
Now that the freshmen have finished their one performance this semester, they will have much more free time. When asked what she will do now that she’s not in dance rehearsals every night, Jordon Taylor said she’s ready to be more adventurous. “I’m from North Carolina, so I’m excited that I have time to explore the city and see some Chicago theatre!” Taylor expressed. “I also work on the paint and props crew for CCPA, so I’ll definitely be devoting more time to that.”
Sean Kelley, the Associate Dean of the Theatre Conservatory, takes on the challenge of directing the showcase along with two other professors. Kelley explained some of the processes of putting on a show. “There are always challenges in finding the right material for presentation, something that will best represent them as people and artists, but the challenge is part of the process, which we all enjoy,” Kelley said.
“I could not be prouder of this young, talented artist citizens,” Kelley said. “I loved seeing them perform and look forward to the next four year journey.”