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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

A TCU student reaches for a Celsius from a vending machine- a refreshing boost amidst a hectic day of lectures and exams. (Kelsey Finley/Staff Writer)
The caffeine buzz is a college student's drug
By Kelsey Finley, Staff Writer
Published Apr 18, 2024
College students seem to have a reliance on caffeine to get them through lectures and late night study sessions, but there are healthier alternatives to power through the day.

Theatre students perform for award-winning songwriter and musical composer Drew Gasparini

Caroline Kellam
Theatre TCU students observe as Drew Gasparini teaches during his on-campus masterclass. (Caroline Kellam/Staff Writer)

Theatre TCU students had the unique chance to work with the mastermind behind some of the songs they perform. 

Drew Gasparini is an award-winning musical theatre composer and singer-songwriter, known for his work on musicals like “Its Kind of a Funny Story,” “The Whipping Boy” and the Broadway-bound adaptation of “The Karate Kid.”

Gasparini has performed sold-out concerts around the globe and has composed music for TV shows such as NBC’s Smash” and “The Biggest Loser”, CMT’s “Gainesville” and Oxygen’s “The Next Big Thing.” He has also composed music for advertisements, including a Super Bowl commercial.

The composer visited TCU and taught a masterclass in Marlene and Spencer Hays Theatre, where 12 students had the opportunity to perform and receive feedback. 

Gasparini suggested personalized musical cuts, offered advice and complimented the talent at Theatre TCU, calling the program’s students, “some of the most talented I have ever seen.”

Gasparini also made himself available as a resource to students in the future, sharing his contact information.

“As someone who remembers how hard it is starting out in this career, I want you all to know that I am here to help in whatever way I can,” Gasparini said.

Senior musical theatre major Brady Raboin performing “Brandy You’re a Fine Girl” for Drew Gasparini during his on-campus masterclass. (Caroline Kellam/Staff Writer)

After Brady Raboin, a senior musical theatre major, sang “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl,” Gasparini offered his advice and praise.

“I want to see you in audition rooms in New York one day,” Gasparini said.

He also encouraged Raboin to choose audition cuts that show more vulnerability.

Raboin said he was grateful for the feedback from Gasparini, particularly because “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” is on one of his go-to audition songs.

Freshman musical theatre major, Audrey Shin, singing “You Don’t Know this Man” from “Parade” for Drew Gasparini. (Caroline Kellam/Staff Writer)

Audrey Shin, a freshman musical theatre major, sang “You Don’t Know this Man” from “Parade,” an emotional performance that ended with tears streaming down her face.

“I started sobbing, something I have never done while singing this song,” Shin said. “It was genuinely the most empowering and freeing moment I have ever experienced while performing.”

Shin’s commitment to her character did not go unnoticed. Gasparini said her performance was up to par with the current Broadway performers’ rendition.

“It’s inspiring to meet a freshman who is willing to dive completely into their character,” Gasparini said to Shin. “Something about you seems so experienced and emotionally ready.”

Gasparini asked Shin to email him a copy of her headshot and resume to share with casting directors and industry professionals in New York City.

“During that moment, my heart dropped,” Shin said. “I was shocked that an ordinary person like me could potentially be in shows in New York City because of this masterclass.”

Drew Gasparini during the Q&A section of his masterclass with Theatre TCU students.
(Caroline Kellam/Staff Writer)

In the final part of the masterclass, Gasparini asked students to take out a piece of paper and answer the following questions: What stories do you want to tell? Why are you an artist? When you have reached success, how do you plan on paying it forward?

Gasparini asked the students to email their responses to him.

Also this semester, actor and producer Eric Nelson conducted a master class. Next semester, Theatre TCU will host actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth

“Much of a career is based on meeting the right people at the right time,” Jennifer Engler, department chair and professor of theatre, said. “Theatre TCU is committed to helping bridge students to the profession and masterclasses are an essential component to this endeavor.”

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