Baylor Theatre preps for first performance following COVID-19

Baylor Theatre is currently in the process of rehearsing for the in-person production of "The Last Night of Ballyhoo." Photo courtesy of Baylor Theatre

By Katelyn Patterson | Reporter

Baylor Theatre will be producing a romantic comedy titled “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, 22, 23 and 24. There will be two additional showings at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. September 26 at Jones Theatre. Attendance to “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” counts towards Creative Arts Experience credits for students. Reservation to the event can be found on the CAE website.

The department’s season brochure describes the play as it takes place in 1939 and follows the Jewish family, the Freitags.

“This family is more concerned about whether or not they should put a star on their Christmas tree and who has a date to Ballyhoo, the social event of the season,” the season brochure said. “As love starts to bloom in unexpected places, the Freitags confront their own feelings about their religious and ethnic heritage.”

Humble senior Lexi Stephenson plays Sunny in “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.” Stephenson said she loves seeing how the different sides of theater come together to bring shows to life.

“It’s not just the actors who are bringing it to life but the designers, technicians and everybody else who plays a part,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said one of show’s biggest themes focuses on figuring out who you are as a person.

“Something we’ve discussed a lot as a company is how much this show deals with identity, which I think is really important because I’m sure everybody in their life has struggled with identity and how to come to terms with it and figuring out who they really are,” Stephenson said. “We’ve all been exploring that, and I’m really excited for people to come see it and walk away thinking about that.”

Fort Stockton graduate student Emily Olson said this is her first in-person main stage production that she has directed at Baylor.

“I’m very excited to have a live audience. I mean, as theater artists, that’s what we love – we love doing live theater,” Olson said. “Overall, we’re taking as many precautions as we can and we’re really excited to have audiences back live and in person.”

Douglas, Mass. senior Lindsey Swyers, sound designer for the production, said she hopes students and attendees will be able to relate to the play.

“I’m hoping that especially in this period of life with everything that’s going on politically in the world, that people will be able to not see these characters as just stuck in 1939, but to relate it to the life that they have now and be able to connect with the characters on their own personal level,” Swyers said. “I think that’s what theater is really about, telling a story through someone else’s eyes but also being able to relate that to the life of everyone else.”