By Elisa Adams
Last fall, The Master’s College Theatre Arts Department produced Cheaper by the Dozen. Based on the 1948 novel written by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, it presented the true story of the famously large and tight-knit Gilbreth family. It took more than 40 students working and rehearsing for eight weeks to bring the play to life.
The production not only drew audiences of traditional students, friends and family, but also the broader campus community of the Degree Completion Program and Alumni Association. Both departments utilized the show as the setting for fall events.
The Degree Completion Department has centered its fall event on the TMC production for the past three years. In appreciation for their students, the department invited its past and present students to the second Saturday matinee. They provide a free catered lunch attended by some of the theatre cast and crew, as well as free tickets to the show.
In evaluating this year’s event, Wayne Dell, the director of Degree Completion, was enthusiastic.
“The short answer is that it was excellent … everybody enjoys it. Those folks who can make it always come and it has grown every year. It is definitely an event that we host for alumni and students that is very popular and is very well received,” he said.
More than 100 people participated, and Dell explained why he believes an event that is produced by the traditional department is appreciated by nontraditional departments.
“When you look, for instance, at the audience you see a real diversity of people,” he said. “And it lends itself to that because TMC is unique in and of itself, so it doesn’t matter what group you belong to or what marketing segmentation variable that you choose, it’s really effective as a resource. That’s why it works so well.”
The Alumni Association expressed similar sentiments in regards to their 3rd Annual Dinner Theatre Event. On Oct. 24, an extra show was added specifically to provide the alumni with a three-course dinner while watching the show. Steve Crawford, who was at the time serving as the Director of Alumni Relations, affirmed the continued appreciation for their event.
“This was a huge success, people really enjoyed the night,” Crawford said. “One alum brought her grandparents and she just told me last week that they have not stopped talking about it since, they had an awesome time. I haven’t heard one negative comment.”
Crawford not only spoke of the positive feedback, but also described the multiple benefits of such an opportunity.
“It appeals to the graduates who want to come and see a night of fun entertainment but also see what the college can showcase in terms of the performing arts,” he said. “It serves the alumni and brings the alumni back on campus, maybe stirs up a lot of memories, but also helps as a great market piece for what theatre arts and the college in general is doing.”
With that, Crawford smiled and summarized, “It’s a big win all around for the college!”
Elisa Adams is a TMC communications major