Since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning with the transition to live-stream performances, it has been the norm for the Theater and Dance division of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to think beyond the tried and tested.
This spring, the department ventured far into the world of theater with the production of its first music video – a tribute to the host city of Island University in various legendary locations in Coastal Bend. The video, appropriately titled “A Love Song for Corpus Christi” was released on April 23rd and will be available on the Internet until April 28th. Click here to access a free ticket to the online performance.
Any other year, the department would normally have staged a Broadway-inspired mid-term musical with acting, singing and dancing inside the walls of the Center for the Arts, according to Alison Frost, department director and associate professor of theater.
“I was supposed to be directing a production of Disney’s ‘Newsies’ and I just didn’t know how to stage this show with masks and social distancing while staying happy and connected with the project,” said Frost, who produced and directed the project said. “So we changed our regular season to make a safer, streamable video production that would give our students the experience of producing a primarily outdoor music event around Corpus Christi.”
The project was an all-hands-on-deck affair that involved 12 student performers, along with the support of recording technology from professional assistant professor of music, Dr. Brian Thacker, costumes designed by theater professor Rosa Lazaro and organized by costume manager Kyle Everett, stage and prop monitoring by theater assistant Professor Kevin Loeffler and technical director Jordan Bohl, and video camera surveillance and special effects by theater professor Philip Johnson.
Frost said she picked eight different songs from mostly stage musicals and one film musical.
“I tried to pick songs that I thought would enhance some of our students’ skills,” said Frost. “We filmed all over town. We danced on the Lexington. We took our students to the skate park in Cole Park. We danced on the bayfront, we went to the aquarium, we went to Whataburger Field, we went to the art museum, and we sang and danced some murals downtown. “
Miranda Dean ’22, a theater major who specializes in acting / directing with teacher certification, was the soloist for “Faith” and “Footloose” in “A Love Song for Corpus Christi”.
“We can do an out-of-the-box theater in a pandemic and put on a Happy Go Lucky production where we’re all vaccinated so we can have fun and dance around and get back to what matters We love to do it, ”said Dean.
Like her fellow Islanders working on the video, Dean is delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in a groundbreaking project and hopes the video will resonate with the residents of Corpus Christi.
“I think we’re highlighting some really beautiful areas of Corpus Christi – we’ve definitely been to some areas that I’ve never been to. It’s a beautiful city and I think everyone will see new sights to see and things like that, ”said Dean.
“A love song for Corpus Christi” shows a cameo by Dr. Kelly Miller, President and CEO of Island University, during a scene captured on the university’s downtown property, the five-story building, 77,000 square feet, acquired in 2019.
Miller said she thinks the video will be very well received by the Corpus Christi community.
“They are an incredible group of students – talented, dedicated and their flexibility and innovation during COVID-19 is unmatched,” said Miller.
Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo ’00 said she wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the next generation of future leaders and influencers to visually highlight the Corpus Christi community through this theatrical performance.
“As an Islander Alumna, I am extremely proud of the collaboration that has certainly produced a legendary song and video in” A Love Song for Corpus Christi “, said Guajardo. “The creativity and imagination in creating an artistic treasure about our coastal city is a source of great inspiration for me.”