News Details

October 12, 2016

Senior Theatre Majors Present Unique Recital

Four West Virginia Wesleyan College senior musical theatre majors and a technical theatre major will present their joint senior recital entitled “The Coffee Shop on Main,” a cabaret-style recital, on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29, with two performances each evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The performances will take place in the Culpepper Auditorium of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts. Students will perform with the main curtain closed and the audience seated on stage, creating a more intimate feeling for the cabaret-style show.

“We wanted it to be a unique but real experience for the audience, giving them a homey feeling: the smell of walking into a store, having baked goods for them,” remarked Charles Harper, senior musical theatre major.

Set in a coffee shop, the performance will include real coffee and baked goods for patrons to enjoy during the performance. Baked goods will be provided by Dough Re Mi, and coffee will come from local Mountain Roasters.

The show features numbers examining the process of falling in and out of love. The piece tracks two couples through the ups and downs of their relationships through various stages of unrequited and new love, as well as break-ups. Seniors have selected songs from musical theatre and pop genres, written dialogue scenes, and choreographed the pieces themselves.

“We wanted the characters to be as realistic as possible so that it feels like these characters walked off the street and directly into a coffee shop,” said senior musical theatre major Rachel Barnhart. “We wanted to represent the complexities of life and the different journeys one can take.”

“I designed the choreography so that the characters are creating moments for our audience who are seated on three sides of the performance space,” explained the choreographer and senior musical theatre major Haruna Isayama. “The audience will be able to notice who the central figure is. The audience can feel our connection, heart-to-heart.”

Senior musical theatre majors include Rachel Barnhart, musical theatre major & honors minor of Lewisberry, PA; Logan Darnell, musical theatre major of Danville, WV; Charles Harper musical theatre major & communication minor of Silver Spring, MD; and Haruna Isayama of Hokkaido, Japan. Technical theatre major Liv Hancock of Renick, WV will design the lights for the piece, assisted by Director of Technical Theatre Keith Saine. The show features other students in the musical theatre program as well as members of the Wesleyan community.

The musical theatre majors involved in the production come from the studio of Dr. Leigh Usilton, assistant professor of music. Dr. R. Daniel Hughes, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, provides musical direction, including work with a featured three-piece combo of student instrumentalists including pianist Shelby Williams, junior music performance major from Buckhannon, WV; bassist Chris McGraw, sophomore music education major from Beckley, WV; and percussionist David Hanson, sophomore music performance major from Indiana, PA.

Admission is free, and coffe and snacks are provided.  Tickets are available at the door 30 minutes prior to showtimes.  For more information, contact Associate Professor of Threatre Tom Schoffler at



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