I think my first line that I ever said on stage was, “Hi. My name’s Billy, and I like to ride my bike,” before I shuffled back into the crowd of 1st-3rd graders who were in my local church’s big musical extravaganza. My mom would probably tell you that I deserved a Tony Award for how wonderfully I delivered that line, but, as mothers always seem to do, she exaggerates things a little bit, because she’s my biggest fan. That line was a simple moment for most, a single line in the script, but it remains one of the most important sentences I’ve ever acted in my life, because that was where everything started for me, even if I didn’t do another show until I was in the 9th grade.
As I got more and more into this art, I started to get attached to certain characters I would read about and see on stage, and I would pine for the opportunity to get to play those characters myself. My friends and I would always call these “dream roles,” and there were a few characters that I would give that label. I’ve always wanted to play Miss Trunchbull in Matilda and John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, but there was always one role that stood out to me as being one that I would be so incredibly blessed to play, and that was Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
Now, three months into the rehearsals for OBU’s production of Fiddler and just a few days away from opening night, I get to perform that very role on the Jones Performing Arts Center stage here at Ouachita Baptist University. I can honestly say that having this opportunity was everything I always dreamed it would be.
However, I never could have dreamed about the bevy of talent that is surrounding me here at Ouachita. We, of course, have the best faculty in the state for musical theatre represented by Dr. Scott Holsclaw and Mr. David Stanley, but there are also so many students who do excellent work in making this show extremely powerful. My fellow students are a part of the reason that this show is, and will remain, special to me.
Near the beginning of Act 1, Tevye sings a song about all of the things that he would do if he had a small fortune in “If I Were a Rich Man.” For me, I ask myself, with all of these blessings that I’ve been given so far in my life, how much richer could one man be?
Thank you to the students, the faculty, the university and to everybody who attends and support the arts here at Ouachita. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to turn my “dream role” into reality.
The Ouachita Voices blog is a place for the people of Ouachita to tell the stories of Ouachita. Lend your voice to the conversation. Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.