Last summer, Western Institute’s professional theatre company debuted their Season of Love. With three unique performances including Barefoot in the Park and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Potter Hall became a community hotspot. Potter was also decorated in numerous ways in order to further immerse audiences into each performance.
This year, Western Playhouse took a different approach to their overall production design.
“We sort of put all of our eggs into one basket by focusing everything on one performance: Miss Saigon,” Dr. Gordon Mapley, the producer of the performance, said.
Miss Saigon was chosen as the singular performance to serve Western Playhouse’s second season. With only one performance to focus on, the cast and crew was given the opportunity to really knock the audience’s socks off, Mapley said.
Tee Quillin, the director of the performance, was proud with the cast and crew of Miss Saigon.
“It all went very well,” Quillin said. “Everyone did great and we were able to fill around eighty-five percent of the seats.”
Mapley was also impressed by how well everyone involved in Miss Saigon worked together to create an amazing performance.
“All of the actors and everyone involved worked very well together and we received a lot of positive feedback,” Mapley said.
However, the performance required a lot of hard work according to Quillin, who explained how challenging it was for everyone involved to put all of their focus into one massive performance.
“The two seasons were so different in how we did them that it was almost like we had to reinvent the wheel with how we approached season two,” Quillin said.
Quillin is aware of the benefits that putting on these performances provides to students and the community. Everyone involved in the program benefits because it is the most intense applied learning opportunity that they will get, and having people from across the country come to be a part of it all and bring their families to each performance helps build our community as well, Quillin said.
But there were many Missouri Western students that participated as well, including freshman Thomas Delgado who acted in both American Story and Sweeney Todd. Delgado was incredibly excited to make his Western Playhouse debut with Miss Saigon.
“The production was incredible,” Delgado said. “We definitely had to put our thinking caps on regarding how we wanted to approach doing one play, but I think that it turned out incredibly well.”
Delgado also realized how important that this one play was to the community. It helped Missouri Western really show off the various programs offered here on campus, and we also got the chance to work with some real professional actors, Delgado said.
Everyone involved benefited greatly from the performance of Miss Saigon; receiving valuable experience while allowing the university a chance to demonstrate the professional level at which it produces its plays and musicals.
“Our goal with Miss Saigon was to have people walk out of that theatre and say, ‘Wow! That was absolutely incredible,’” Mapley said. “And I think we accomplished that goal.”