Readers who follow the current events we write about in the U-News are probably sick of seeing “UMKC Theatre Presents the Rocky Horror Show” at the top of and somewhere inside each issue for the past month. On the other hand, I choose to believe that anyone who saw the aforementioned production was thrilled to have come across one of those advertisements. This thrill, however, could not possibly match the undying, tangible and pure elation which I currently possess because of said production.
From Jan. 20 through March 8, I was blessed with the honor of starring as Riff Raff in Steven Eubank’s production of “The Rocky Horror Show” here at UMKC. It was the most invigorating, challenging, physically demanding, hard core, bizarre, hilarious, collaborative, rock star inspiring and rewarding experience of my acting career thus far. It is nearly impossible to express my gratitude. However, the real zinger is the fact that this production may never have happened if I hadn’t followed my dreams.
This is a cheesy saying anymore, “follow your dreams,” but I will hold it dear and true for as long as I live, and it is a personal mission of mine to affect people in such a way that they, too will strive for nothing less than their dreams.
Sometime during the 2013-2014 academic year, Tom Mardikes—chair of UMKC Theatre—announced that the department would be putting on a musical in the spring of 2015. We theatre students were encouraged to propose suggestions of musicals which we would like to perform. This was a no-brainer for me—the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” has been one of my all-time favorite musicals since the very first time I saw it. Therefore, I submitted a fully detailed proposal to Tom explaining why Rocky was the musical which we should choose. In March of 2014, it was announced that Rocky Horror was selected. I literally almost peed my pants in front of an entire cast of people—that is how shamelessly excited I was. And it paid off.
Thanks to the astounding production team, director Steven Eubank and the phenomenal undergraduate cast, future musicals are in store for UMKC Theatre. I truly believe Rocky Horror was the best musical which could have been chosen. The demand of the vocals, choreography and the B-horror-sci-fi storyline could have proved too daunting, but we rocked and enjoyed the hell out of every second of it.
This may read as nothing more than an actress gushing and reflecting over a much loved show. While this has been very cathartic to write, what is in store is far more pivotal. Not only did I make connections with several musicians and an extraordinary director which will surely bring more opportunities in Kansas City, but I also made an extremely lucky connection with a prospering actor who works consistently in Los Angeles and New York. I talked with him early in the rehearsal process about how my fiancé and I plan to move to L.A. as soon as possible. After the last performance which he was able to see, he insisted that we contact him immediately when we get out there because he wants to work with us again.
How can I resist writing about that? I strived to bring a dream into reality, and it happened. I stuck my foot in the door and, with the proper amount of passion and professionalism, was welcomed into a whole new world of people and possibilities. This is why when I say “follow your dreams,” you should seriously follow your dreams. And never stop.