The Department of Theatre produces eight shows each academic year with varying cast and crew sizes, technical needs and production costs. Last year, Theatre TCU produced 42nd Street, a classic American musical with a large ensemble and many show-stopping numbers.
With a big musical comes the need for a theatre to match to provide more space for the production and seats for the audience than what is currently available on campus. With the gifts of generous TCU donors, the Department of Theatre rented the W.E. Scott Theatre in Fort Worth’s Cultural District for a five-day run of 42nd Street in April 2019.
Senior Collins Rush played Billy Lawlor, one of the lead male roles. Below are his reflections about performing at the Scott Theatre and how it prepared him for this spring’s Senior Showcase in New York City, an important performance and networking opportunity for graduating seniors, that is also partially funded by donors’ gifts.
“Being able to perform in the Scott Theatre is always such an amazing experience for Theatre TCU students! While I love our on-campus facilities, the Hays and Buschman theaters are more intimate than the stages [where] many professional companies perform. Producing shows in the Scott Theatre teaches students how to fill a big stage and perform for a larger house.
I was fortunate enough to be cast in Sweeney Todd my freshman year, which was [the most recent] show produced by Theatre TCU at the Scott Theatre before 42nd Street. Because of the experience of performing in that space and learning how to commute to a theater for work, I was prepared to begin working in Dallas professionally starting my sophomore year. In between Sweeney Todd and 42nd Street, I performed in five professional shows in the DFW area, and I accredit much of my confidence to audition for and be in those shows to the experience of being on the Scott stage.
Senior Showcase is usually in a very small theatre with the audience practically onstage with you. While it may seem contradictory, performing in a large space actually helps prepare you for a situation just like that. I’ve heard just about every Theatre TCU professor say the same thing at some point, ‘It’s easier to pull a performer back than it is to try to get more out of them.’ Now that we know what’s required of us to fill a big theatre, we can easily dial back for our Senior Showcase.
Performing at the Scott Theatre for the second time during 42nd Street also helped me this past summer as I went on to perform at Maine State Music Theatre from May to August. I had acquired of level of professionalism from my time working in the DFW area and from our off-campus productions that aided me exponentially. I know that I’m not the only one with experiences like these, and that if you asked any of my peers they’d echo these sentiments.
The Scott shows are essential to our Theatre TCU training and part of what makes this department so great!” -Collins Rush
Join the College of Fine Arts on TCU Gives Day, Nov. 13-14, to help students, like Collins and his peers, continue pursuing their passions.