After Dark begins tonight with big talent, big voices and crowd favorites

VirtuOSO, Baylor's co-ed A Capella group, rehearses for their performance Thursday night. After Dark will be held in Waco Hall Friday and Saturday night. Photo credit: File Art

The first performance of Baylor’s annual After Dark variety show will take the stage at 8 p.m. tonight at Waco Hall.

There are 13 acts, for a total of about 30 performers, and over 20 stage hands participating in this year’s show.

After Dark’s executive producer, Coppell sophomore Logan Earnest, joined the student productions staff in April 2015. She said she began meetings about After Dark during finals week in May.

“Immediately I started brainstorming themes,” Earnest said. “It’s been a work in progress for a while,”

Earnest communicated with Waco Hall staff over the summer through emails and phone calls, sending blueprints with her concept of the set.

“I sent them my idea and they ran with it and they did a wonderful job,” Earnest said.

Baylor’s assistant director of campus programs, Cheryl Mathis, said in addition to theme discussion, their team began planning marketing initiatives over the summer as well.

“The first step in the process when we get back [in the fall] is pubbing [publicizing] for auditions,” Mathis said.

Mathis said they have room to audition 50 acts, and they try to get as many students to participate as possible. This year, she said about 40 acts, composed of 60 students, auditioned for a spot.

Rounds of auditions run two nights in a row, about two weeks before the show’s date. After auditions, a 16-person committee sat down to talk about their favorites. They considered content, length of the act and how it will fit with the rest of the show.

“Since After Dark is publicized as a variety show, of course one of the main things we look for is variety,” Mathis said. “There’s a lot that we look into when finally deciding on the one’s that we’ll keep and request to be in the show.”

When an act is chosen, they are required to attend two half-hour rehearsals during the week before performance.

Mathis said the stage and technology crew at Waco Hall are very diligent during rehearsals.

Earnest said the set is designed to mimic a 1975 late night television variety show.

“It’s going to be a little bit different than shows in the past,” Earnest said.

She said the show’s host, Mitch Winters, is going to be more involved with the acts than hosts in the past have been.

Mathis said last year’s After Dark was almost sold out, but this year’s isn’t yet.

“I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in maybe going to get their ticket early, because the line at the door will be very long,” Mathis said.

There is no price difference between purchasing tickets ahead of time or at the door.