Now, as student audiences are welcomed back into theater, Tech Theater students are highlighting how important non-theatre students play in Tech’s musical theater program.
Savannah Rhodes, a musical theater student from Las Vegas, Nevada, said, “It’s kind of a hidden program. If more people knew about it, they’d appreciate it more.”
There are many differences between mainstream and student audiences when it comes to acting, Rhodes said.
“Lubbock is the last place you would expect people to support theatre. But there are tons of resources for people who love theatre: First Friday, the Buddy Holly Center, Ballet Lubbock, Moonlight Musicals and Lubbock Community Theater,” Rhodes said. there is less support among the students and more support among the locals because they come to the shows all the time.”
“A lot of these programs wouldn’t exist without the community. Moonlight Musical exists because of donations and financial support. It’s a huge blessing that they can do this,” Rhodes said.
Bradley Frenette, a master’s student in performance and pedagogy from New York City, said non-theatre students generally enjoy musical theater less.
Frenette, an actor who starred in productions such as “Hello, Dolly!” and “White Christmas,” said non-theatre students might not always understand the dedication required to perform at a professional level.
Frenette wants everyone to be a little more aware of the commitment required of musical theater students.
“The audience for the shows is made up of theater students and students who have to be there,” Frenette said. “There is not a full appreciation of the work done in theatre. This is a pervasive problem in academic institutions; theater programs never get the support they should.”
Tech students aren’t always aware of how easily it can sustain the performance held by the program, Frenette said.
“Tech’s theater department has a student discount policy, including free tickets,” Frenette said. “The perception of accessibility influences people who don’t come. If everyone had this information about these opportunities in terms of financial hardship, if more students knew about it, they would attend.”
“Those two years have been really, really tough for theater people,” Frenette said. “We need the support of the spectators more than ever as we return to the stage.
Dean Nolen, associate professor of theater, said students could support Tech’s musical theater program.
“The best thing for students to do is go online to the School of Theater and Dance website,” Nolen said. “They can find photos of past productions, see upcoming productions, announcements and dates. TechAnnounce also shows upcoming performances.”
Nolen said students have plenty of opportunities to fit a show into their schedule because there are so many productions per semester. He is always delighted to see people come and share with others by sitting down and watching a play.
“The audience is one of the most exciting parts of theatre,” Nolen said. “Come join the theater party.”