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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

Delaney Vega, a TCU journalism junior, is painting a school in Belize. (Courtesy of Teja Sieber)
“The week of joy”: Christ Chapel College’s annual trip to Belize
By Ella Schamberger, Staff Writer
Published Apr 23, 2024
174 students, a record number, went on this year's trip.

TCU Opera Studio takes on Sondheim

Amy K. Abney
TCU Opera students preparing for opening night of “Into the Woods.” (Photo courtesy of Amy K. Abney) From right to left: David McDaniel, John Dubois, Mary Grace Abney

Once upon a time in a far-off kingdom, an audience settled into the intimate Secrest-Wible Theatre. Backstage, there’s a prince preparing to meet his princess, and a boy searching for a sack of beans. As the stage lights come up, audience members sit back and prepare for an epic journey into the woods.

TCU Opera Studio’s fourth production of the season is a musical theatre classic, “Into the Woods.” Written by Stephen Sondheim, the show tells the story of a baker and his wife who must work to appease an evil witch in order to have a child. At the witch’s command, the couple ventures into the woods to steal notable items from various fairy tales. During the latter third of the production, the couple deals with the consequences of their actions, having angered a giant.

The cast of “Into the Woods” sings during the opening act. (Photo courtesy of Amy K. Abney)

From the Baker and his wife to Cinderella and her prince, the cast of TCU Opera Studio’s production of “Into the Woods” is composed entirely of undergraduate students.

“My favorite thing about the show,” said Madilynn Gomez, senior vocal performance major, “is that the cast is made up solely of undergraduate students. This is the first show I’ve been in at TCU that doesn’t have grad students or artist diplomas in it, which is so impressive.”

For these students, producing a show of such caliber and musical difficulty has been a challenge. According to sophomore music education major David McDaniel, the rehearsal process has been rather tedious, but such intense practice has opened the door for camaraderie and bonding.

“The past two weeks alone we have put in over 20 hours into rehearsal,” McDaniel wrote in an email. “My favorite part about this whole process is developing stronger bonds with my peers. Singing and acting is such a vulnerable art form, and it really helps you open up to those you’re working with.”

Preparation for “Into the Woods” required some TCU Opera students to step out of their comfort zones.

“The most difficult thing for me is definitely the acting,” McDaniel continued.

For other members of the cast, like Gomez and Owen Harvey, a sophomore vocal performance major, the transition from classical opera to musical theatre wasn’t as challenging due to their background in musical theatre.

“Theatre was my first love,” Harvey wrote in an email. “I’m so happy that I’m getting the chance to soothe my inner theatre kid.”

Cast of “Into the Woods” poses for a group photo in front of the set. (Photo courtesy of Amy K. Abney)

Beyond music difficulty, putting on any show has its challenges. This undergraduate cast has consistently risen to the occasion, according to the program’s director, Corey Trahan.

“It’s a challenging musical with complicated plots and complex music,” Trahan wrote in an email. “My favorite part has been watching our students tackle this and grow as singing actors through the rehearsal period.”

The show opened on Friday, March 1. Cast member Mary Grace Abney, a sophomore vocal performance major, said that opening night was one for the history books.

“Opening night was a success,” Abney said. “We had a completely sold-out show. We even had to add extra chairs to fit everyone!”

The cast cannot wait to continue performing for a full house, as every production is sold out. “Into the Woods” will run until Sunday, March 3.

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