Big city theatre is in Waco, too

By Clarissa Pompa | Reporter

Coming to Waco from a big city can be tough. Downtown Waco seems more like a suburb than a bustling city center. The concert scene is more like a concert vignette. The touring Broadway shows miss Waco in favor of the bigger cities such as Dallas and Austin.

Waco can surprise you with its art shows, murals and concerts, but when Broadway passes it by, you may not be able to suppress the feeling that something is missing. Theatrical shows can seem lacking when you look at the absence of venues and shows, but that understanding leads you to bypass the talent we have right here. Baylor is a university where students are studying to become the actors we see on TV and on stage. Those actors had to start somewhere — why not at Baylor?

When you look down on Waco because there are no tours, then you are not looking close enough. Waco has the Waco Civic Theatre (WCT), McLennan Theatre, Jubilee Theatre and Baylor Theatre. Each of these organizations brings a different flavor to Waco’s cultural scene. With these four companies, you are guaranteed a chance at live theatre and experiencing the talent of children and adults alike.

The WCT usually has two mainstage musicals, as well as several plays every semester. Its next show will be “Shakespeare in Love” in March. McLennan Theatre can be overlooked due to its location, but its students work just as hard to bring shows to its audiences. Its next performance, “Pirates of Penzance,” will take place Thursday to Saturday.

The Jubilee Theatre, sponsored by Mission Waco, is not new but has come into the public eye over the past few years after their performance of “The Last 5 Years.” Its next show will be “Annie Jr.” from March 22 to 24. This brings up an interesting point: Jubilee is not the only theatre that allows children to embrace their talent. The WCT just finished its run of the children’s musical “Pinkalicious.”

This brings it all back to Baylor Theatre. From “Legally Blonde” to “Twelfth Night” to “Peter and The Starcatcher,” Baylor has a history of high performance in stellar shows. The next show will be “Mnemonic” April 2 through 7. The cast of every show proves that “culture” is not limited to cities with populations sizes greater than Waco’s. From set design to costumes to the acting itself, Baylor Theatre provides an experience that brings laughter and tears.

Culture is appreciated by those who partake in it. This means that if you feel as though the arts of Waco are not “good” or present, then you do not really care about the arts. Waco is full of opportunities and chances to have the experience of a big city.

Next time you find yourself thinking that there is nothing to do in town, check out the theatre websites and see if you can enjoy the hard work of local actors, students and enthusiasts. You only miss the big city life when you ignore big talents right under your nose.