For the first time in years, the Tyler Junior College Theater Department had to replace their musical with a different production due to the lack of students auditioning.
“Annie Get Your Gun” was the musical that many people have been talking about, not just at TJC but also at other local colleges and within the community. Unfortunately, the production had to be replaced with a smaller musical, “Cotton Patch Gospel.” This year the number of students who auditioned dropped drastically from almost 40 last semester to only 14.
Many different reasons surfaced as to why students did not audition.
“I really wanted a break,” Chase Gee said. He was in last year’s production of Little Shop of Horrors and felt that this semester he needed to take a break from having a role in the musical but is still happily working on the set.
Other students’ reasons included interference with other classes, some of which are required for their major, conflict with work schedules, lack of interest for this particular musical, and a change of majors.
Dr. Crawford’s opinion on the reason for less students auditioning this year was, “I’m not really sure. It could have been a bad time to hold the audition when I did.” This year they held auditions on a Sunday, when school started on a Wednesday instead of one or two days before classes started. Usually Auditions are held on a weekday or a Saturday instead of Sunday.
The TJC productions also tend to take up a lot, if not all, of students free time.
“You have to be completely dedicated to theater. It is pretty much your life,” Libby Harmon said. “Some students are not willing to put in the time and effort.”
According to Harmon, Freshmen who enter TJC seem to have an idea of what it takes to put on a musical when they graduate high school, but they realize it is completely different when you get to college. Harder work and longer hours seem to be the difficult thing to get past. Around half may quickly decide that theater may not be the right major for them, so they switch majors or drop classes, leaving the department with fewer students than last year.
“One great thing about auditioning at TJC is that no matter what happens, a show will go on,” Harmon said.
TJC is well known for having the best musical productions in the district and Cotton Patch Gospel is sure to not disappoint. Dr. Crawford and all theater professors are very excited about this musical.
“We had this in our back pockets just in case, and it is sure to be a great production,” Becky Faulds said.
All 14 who auditioned for “Annie Get Your Gun” were awarded with parts in “Cotton Patch Gospel” and all are excited. According to Crawford, “Cotton Patch Gospel” was originally chosen as the musical for this year, but for reasons unknown they decided to change to “Annie Get Your Gun.” Since Dr. Crawford and others including Nathan Russell, TJC choir director, had discussed it before, it was not difficult to decide what would be the replacement for Annie Get Your Gun.
“Cotton Patch Gospel” opens Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. and continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be bought at the box office starting Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are $5 per person.