Natchioches, LA (KMSS) — Tyler P. Robinson just wanted a chance to perform when he came to Northwestern State University and the junior theatre major will do that over the next two weeks as part of the cast of “Only in America: A Celebration of American Music.” The Northwestern Summer Theatre production will run June 12-15 and 19-22 on the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium stage. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for dinner and the show. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling (318) 357-4483.
The first act of the show is a tribute to America's musical heritage, celebrating the vast and varied music of America, with more than 25 number one hits from the big band era through the present day. The second act will feature the music of Dixieland, Broadway and rock and roll.
“The first act is a lot of classic songs that go back in American history including a salute to the armed forces while the second act is more contemporary,” said Robinson.
Robinson, who is from Harvey, is featured on “Jailhouse Rock,” “In The Mood,” “Tuxedo Junction” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
“When we got the score, each of us started getting familiar with the music and realized what awesome music it is,” said Robinson. “Now all of us have started looking up the various artists and we are listening to them on our iPods. The music is timeless. The artists are so talented and the music is still relevant.”
A graduate of John Ehret High School, Robinson learned about Northwestern State’s theatre and dance program through its Website.
“I started looking at colleges during my junior year in high school. My dad said I would have to stay in state, so I began learning about the various theatre programs,” said Robinson. “I was impressed that Northwestern did musicals or Shakespeare each year, and that the university had such extensive programs in dance, voice and musical theatre.”
Robinson has appeared in “The Wiz” and “West Side Story” on the main stage at Northwestern State and in student productions of “Work in Progress” and “Touched.” This fall, he will part of the cast of “Once on This Island.”
“The only way to get better as a performer is to get on the stage and perform,” said Robinson. “From my first day at Northwestern State, I was welcomed and had an opportunity to audition for roles.”
Robinson is studying musical theatre, but he wasn’t able to immediately get into Northwestern State’s competitive program.
“I auditioned to get into the musical theatre program, but didn’t make it the first time,” said Robinson. “The faculty told me I needed to take voice lessons. I did that and it forced me to grow and I was able to get into two musicals.”
Rehearsals for “Only in America” have been at a different pace for the students, who normally balance theatre with a full class schedule.
“It’s fast paced,” said Robinson. “The first week we blocked and choreographed the entire show. It’s a little hard on your voice. A year ago, I don’t know if I could have done this, but it is so rewarding.”
Robinson’s biggest worry is before the show when he and fellow cast members will serve as waiters for audience members during dinner.
“We’ll have some training, but I’ve never served food before,” he said. “But it will be good experience because I could be doing it again some day.”