Theatre TCU puts on a gender-bent show to fundraise for people with HIV/AIDS


Members of Alpha Psi Omega posing during a performance of “Big Spender” during TCU Twisted on March 26, 2023. (Ryan Thorpe/TCU360)

By Ryan Thorpe and Caroline Kellam

Once a year Theatre TCU’s honor fraternity students swap gender roles in a performance to raise money for their philanthropy, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids is an organization that provides groceries, medication and healthcare to those affected by HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. 100% of the proceeds from “TCU Twisted” were donated to this organization.

This year, TCU Twisted raised over $500 for the Fort Worth AIDS Outreach Center, adding to the $1,200 raised last semester.

Quint Adamo, a junior theatre major and co-philanthropy chair for APO, said he was so excited for members to use their talents for this great cause. 

“It feels so good to directly give back to those within our community and beyond that are suffering from AIDS, and to make their lives better through our philanthropy,” Adamo said.

TCU Twisted, in the Hayes Theatre on TCU’s campus, features men in bikinis belting out show tunes such as “She’s in Love,” from “The Little Mermaid,” and women in suits dancing to “I’ve Got a Dream,” from “Tangled.”

Members of Alpha Psi Omega performing “She’s In Love” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” during Twisted on March 26, 2023. (Ryan Thorpe/TCU360)

Savannah DeCrow, a junior musical theater major and TCU Twisted chair member, said the show was inspired by a much larger passion project – Broadway Backwards

“Broadway Backwards” is an annual show to celebrate LGBTQ stories through gender-reversed renditions of classic Broadway songs, according to their website. 

“TCU adapted their own version of Broadway Backwards for our own cause, and it caught on,” DeCrow said. “Everybody really loved it and loved the opportunity to perform.”

DeCrow said the role reversals are a great way to get the audience excited.

The showstopper of the night was the energetic and athletically impressive performance of “Whipped into Shape” from Legally Blonde the Musical. The five jump-ropers in this number did not miss a beat, and the performance even received a standing ovation from some audience members.

The audience of TCU Twisted cheering on senior musical theatre major Ethan Massengale after performing “Whipped Into Shape” from the musical adaptation of “Legally Blonde” on March 26, 2023. (Ryan Thorpe/TCU 360)

During the show’s intermission, Alpha Psi Omega members ran onstage with red buckets to collect donations from audience members – another nod to Broadway where a similar system is used.

Maryclare Ramirez, sophomore theater studies major and Alpha Psi Omega co-philanthropy chair, said that TCU’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega is intentional about donating to where the biggest impact could be had.

“Broadway Cares has many different branches all over the country,” Ramirez said. “Our money goes to the Fort Worth AIDS Outreach Center.”

Ramirez also said Alpha Psi Omega is intentional about philanthropy and donating to local organizations.

“We want to fundraise where our money will make the biggest difference,” Ramirez said.

Junior musical theatre major Grace Moore asks for donations during intermission of Twisted on March 26, 2023. (Ryan Thorpe/TCU 360)

The work that was put into the show was apparent through the performers’ passion and enthusiasm throughout the show.

Jose Ruiz-Gonzalez, senior musical theatre major, said there was a lot to learn and he was pushed to be a better performer when preparing.

In TCU Twisted, Ruiz-Gonzales performed as Rapunzel in “I’ve Got A Dream.” Toward the end of the song, Ruiz-Gonzales’ long blonde wig fell off, followed by thunderous applause and laughter from the audience. 

“We’ve been in situations where we have to cram stuff hard,” Ruiz-Gonzalez said. “I had to learn a brand new medium. I’ve never sung a cappella before, and one of the numbers that I’m in has no music behind it. I learned to be a quick study.”

The performance closed with a heart-felt rendition of “Seasons of Love” from Rent. While the closing number featured every member of the cast, it highlighted senior students, some who were preparing to take their final bow as TCU students. There were teary eyes, both on stage and in the audience.

Members of Alpha Psi Omega perform “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” as the closing number of Twisted on March 26, 2023. (Caroline Kellam/TCU 360)