New WT Musical Production ‘Felt Right for Right Now’

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]

CANYON, Texas — The next theatrical production from West Texas A&M University is fully embracing the moment.

A filmed version of “The Theory of Relativity,” a song cycle by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, will be streamed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 24.

The musical was inspired by conversations the creators had with young actors — “written for college students about college students,” according to director Bradley Behrmann, assistant professor of musical theatre. Through telling their individual stories through song, Bartram and Hill explore how communities are built through shared experiences.

As Behrmann describes it, the show is like “Love Actually” with its unfolding series of unfolding connections between characters.

“It jumps from idea to idea, but they all have a central theme to them,” said Socorra Carrillo, a junior from Amarillo. “That’s really nice in a time where we all feel so separate.”

In putting together the show, Behrmann and cast are accepting the new way of life and new way of creating required by COVID-19 safety measures: Instead of performing for a live audience, the musical is being filmed for streaming. In the recording studio and in rehearsals, students singing together still wear masks. When safe, masks will be removed for filming, much of which will be conducted outdoors around campus.

I tried to pick a show that felt right for right now. Not every piece does, but this proved to be a good fit,” Behrmann said. “We’re recording actors on phones, we’re using protective equipment, we’re even doing Zoom segments.

“It’s a little nerve-racking, but this is a way we can actually make something together at this time.”

“Theory of Relativity” replaced the classic musical “Kiss Me, Kate” on the fall schedule after it had already been delayedfrom a planned April run because of the coronavirus-inspired campus shutdown in the spring.

“This is a left turn from a grand, Golden Age musical like ‘Kate’,” Behrmann said.

But “Relativity” is a good alternative, said Caitlen Richison, a senior from Wichita Falls.

“I like how relatable it is, and it’s nice that we can all do a show together,” Richison said, “even if we’re not all in the same room at the same time.”

Main ensemble members are Carrillo; Veronica Crawley of Chicago; Colin Fields of Amarillo; Erin Gayan of Garland; Hanna Green of Amarillo; Mitch Grosso of Waxahachie; Anna Holmes of Lubbock; Hayley Hurst of Melissa; Michael Olinger of Pearland; ShyAnne Peterson of Fort Bragg, N.C.; Nolan Quintanilla of Canyon; Richison; Abbi Roe of Roswell, N.M.; Jonny Spruill of Odessa; Aidan Tsichlis of Plano; Conner Unwin of Amarillo; and Carley Venter of Midland.

Featured ensemble members are Wyatt Brownell of Lubbock; Joey Hill of Little Elm; Lauren Landtroop of Lubbock; Alexis Martinez of North Richland Hills; Caitlynn Sandoval of Tyler; and Hunter Schineller of Tempe, Ariz.

Chorus members are Carter Berryhill of Shallowater; Maggie Connick of Spanish Fort, Ala.; Coco Dietz of Tahoka; Cassidy Horton of Odessa; Peyton Kerr of Plano; Lorna Lominac of Spring; Caleb Martinez of Seagraves; Brianna Moen of Azle; Savannah Poor of Odessa; Mackenzie Privett of Portales, N.M.; Audrey Riedling of Plano; Hannah Segrist of Lubbock; Bella Walker of Melissa; and Joseph Ward of Andrews.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, and free for WT students, faculty and staff.

Box office hours are 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For tickets, call 806-651-2804, email [email protected], visit the WTAMU Theatre Facebook page or visit the WTAMU Theatre website.

Support of arts and entertainment is a vital component of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 38 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 15 men’s and women’s athletics programs.

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