Broadway comes to Baylor with first performance of ‘American Eclipse’

Photo courtesy of Baylor Theatre

By Jamie Barrett | Reporter

Broadway stars will join Baylor’s Theatre Department for the first public performance of the musical “American Eclipse,” which tells the story of the boom of American science during the 19th century.

Historical figures Thomas Edison, Lewis Latimer and Maria Mitchell are characters featured in the story. “American Eclipse” follows each of them as they experience the eclipse for the first time, while also sprinkling in the experiences of other people. There is no shortage of diversity in the storytelling, from Chinese immigrant landowners to Indigenous tribes.

Garland junior Macie Davis said she thinks tying in these stories helps tell the underlying message of just how small we are in comparison to everything in space.

“It ties in the idea of manifest destiny and the American dream,” Davis said. “It comes together with this eclipse, and everyone realizes how small they are in comparison to the cosmos and how that brings us together.”

Broadway actors Sydney James Harcourt, Rachel Bay Jones, Marc Kudisch, Kenita Miller, Tally Sessions and Mary Testa make up the main cast. Baylor students join them in the ensemble, and the whole cast is guided by Broadway director Bill Rauch. To Bryan junior Aaliyah Carter, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The process of working on ‘American Eclipse’ is a chance to not only give our musical theater students the opportunity to bring our work in front of our idols but also do something new and exciting during this [eclipse] and really be a part of history in Waco,” Carter said.

“American Eclipse” will hit the stage on at 1 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in Jones Theatre in Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Tickets for the event can be found on the box office website.