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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Jukebox to lead musical journey of 40 years on South

Melinda Benton-Muller, standing center, leads her students through movements while rehearsing for the upcoming production of TCC South: The First 40 Years, which opens Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Performing Arts Center. The production is a musical journey through the ages.  Photo by Brandon Thompkins/The Collegian
Melinda Benton-Muller, standing center, leads her students through movements while rehearsing for the upcoming production of TCC South: The First 40 Years, which opens Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Performing Arts Center. The production is a musical journey through the ages. Photo by Brandon Thompkins/The Collegian

By Jessica Vargas/reporter

Melinda Benton-Muller, standing center, leads her students through movements while rehearsing for the upcoming production of TCC South: The First 40 Years, which opens Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Performing Arts Center. The production is a musical journey through the ages.  Photo by Brandon Thompkins/The Collegian
Melinda Benton-Muller, standing center, leads her students through movements while rehearsing for the upcoming production of TCC South: The First 40 Years, which opens Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Performing Arts Center. The production is a musical journey through the ages. Photo by Brandon Thompkins/The Collegian

South Campus celebrates its 40th anniversary with TCC South: The First 40 Years opening Thursday, Oct. 18.

This jukebox musical journey through time begins in the ’60s when TCC first opened.

“Students were curious about what is the same and what was different for students in September 1967,” Melinda Benton-Muller, director of play and drama instructor, said.

The idea behind the play was brought about after students heard what it was like to be a freshman on South Campus from David Clinkscale, associate professor of history.

Clinkscale enrolled for classes in 1967 when the college first opened.

Benton said the jukebox musical, which runs through Oct. 20, is a student collaboration in which each student was allowed to add ideas.

“We tried to build the story around anything that they wanted to say, something that excited them about the past of TCC South,” she said.

The uniqueness of the play is that students’ characters represent themselves.

“This is the first time I have used that particular type of workshop production here,” she said.

In TCC South: The First 40 Years, characters feature the current diversity that exists on South in student population.

The opening scene takes place in the South Campus Student Center in present time on the first day of classes.

Student Andi Watts enters the opening scene as the central character, a lonesome girl in search of herself.

“She lacks self-confidence and feels that she doesn’t fit in,” she said.

“In the show, she brings out self-confidence.”

Watts was able to draw from her own personal experiences to depict her character.

“I took how I would react in real situations,” she said.

Laveria Bogan, whose life knowledge and wisdom help Andi get through her insecurities, plays the role of a non-traditional student.

“We connect after I tell my story,” she said.

Bogan, who in real life has lived through time periods depicted in play, remembers what it was like in 1968 when she first enrolled on South.

“I remember being the only African-American in my classes, and in every situation,” she said.

Another key character to Andi is Jason, played by Jason Watson, a humor personality in the play and in real life.

“He is sarcastic and likes to poke at people,” Watson said of his play persona.

Like many new students entering TCC, the character Jason is still trying to figure out his life plan.

“My character doesn’t know what he wants to do, or how to do it,” he said.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. South Campus allows no late seating.

Performances are free to all TCC students, faculty and staff.

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