By Bonnie Berger
Premier academic performing ensemble Baylor Showtime! celebrates its 30th anniversary with a light-hearted spring season of humorous performances.
Founded in 1980, the ensemble performs biannually on campus, also appearing at community events and traveling globally to represent Baylor through song and dance.
“The focus of the [spring] show is musical comedy,” said Daniel Farris, Baylor Showtime! director. “Everything has a comedic and humorous bit to it. It’s so enchanting to watch. It’s uplifting, it’s entertaining, and it’s funny. That’s what we’re about this year.”
Selections from the spring season repertoire include arrangements from “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and a reprise of signature songs to commemorate the group’s 30th anniversary.
“Over the past years, there would be songs that audiences just clicked with,” Farris said. “We’re putting together a highlight of signature moments for the group.”
Among these moments is “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a piece Farris encountered as an undergraduate Showtime! performer.
“The song was specifically arranged for Baylor Showtime!,” he said. “I sang it myself as a student, so it has great personal meaning.”
Truly complementing the students’ personalities, the spring season’s medley delivers nice musical moments paired with bellyaching laughs, Farris said.
“The personalities [of this group] – each one as an individual is so different,” he said. “They have a life and joy about them. We’re trying to capture that energy and excitement.”
“You really get to see everybody’s funny side,” Showtime! performer and Cypress junior Rachael Smith said. “This is the best group we’ve ever had. We mesh really well. We have people who are good at comedy in the group, and I think it’s going to be one of our better shows. It’s really accessible for students.”
Joining Baylor Showtime! as an undergraduate student, Farris possessed a unique perspective as both a student performer and director. The opportunity to commit and invest in students on a personal level is incredibly motivating, he said.
“What I get most out of Showtime! from the directing side is helping students realize the same things that I realized when I was in the group,” Farris said. “That’s what speaks to me as a teacher. That’s what motivates me and gives me drive.”
Representing Baylor in a variety of locations, the musical theater group performed twice locally on Tuesday.
The events, a luncheon honoring retired professors and an evening celebration for breast cancer survivors at the Central Texas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, provided a characteristic showcase of the ensemble’s mission, Farris said.
“There’s Baylor and there’s Susan G. Komen,” he said. “It’s the university and the tie-in to the community. It’s a great way to extend the university to Dallas, Austin, Houston and to keep Baylor out there with those communities.”
Showtime! has also toured internationally in Central America and Europe, extending once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for students.
The creative ensemble is open to students of all majors, with the current group mainly comprised of students studying biology, computer design, education and various other degrees.
“It’s a recruiting tool for Baylor and the School of Music,” said Showtime! choreographer Jerry MacLauchlin. “It’s a chance for students to have a musical theater ensemble without being a music major. It helps them develop character and their acting.”
Preceding their May 15-23 Nashville tour, Baylor Showtime!’s Spring Show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 1 in Jones Theatre, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on April 2 Tickets are available at (254) 710-1161.
“With the recession of this and that and every time you turn on CNN, there’s something depressing,” MacLauchlin said. “This is real lighthearted. As long as they leave smiling, we’ve succeeded.”