Seasoned Centennial Singer Steps into Director Shoes
Aug. 31, 2006 -- As Thomas Castro steps into the shoes previously filled by Broadway veteran General McArthur Hambrick, he reveals his biggest fear: his baby face.
"I look so young, that when we show up to perform in a town, people will wonder who the director is. I'll have to wear a suit or grow a mustache," Castro jokes.
Castro, who earned a B.F.A. in theatre performance (1998) and a B.S. in marketing (2003) from the University of Wyoming, is the new director of the university's musical ambassadors, the Centennial Singers.
"I've always wanted to direct the group," says the eight-year Centennial Singers performer, "but I've always wanted to continue with my own acting experience as well. It's a struggle between wanting to do my own thing and not wanting Centennial Singers to be put on pause for a year while they conduct a national search for a new director."
In the end, Castro couldn't pass up the opportunity to direct the group about which he's most passionate. He has signed a one-year contract to lead Centennial Singers through 21st season while the national director search continues. Castro says the group looks forward to launching its third decade and building on the standard of excellence audiences have come to expect from the talented group of students.
This year's original musical revue, "Make Your Song" is Castro's first, but he has been creating it in his mind for years. The show follows a songwriter's struggle to write his tune. The young man takes inspiration from musical theatre, past and present, as Centennial Singers weaves audiences through history's great musical theatre songs. Selections include numbers from "Pippin'," "Oklahoma," "The Wiz," "Sweeney Todd" and more.
The group was formed in 1986 for the 100th anniversary of UW's founding. In 1989, the group was recruited by the state to promote the Wyoming Centennial and ever since has performed a different musical revue each year on tours throughout the country.
"I first saw Centennial Singers in high school and after the show I thought there's no way I could ever be part of that group, they're too talented, too amazing," Castro remembers. "My freshman year I was cast in a UW musical and met a lot of Centennial Singers members who encouraged me to audition the next year. I've been involved with them in some capacity ever since."
From the beginning, students have been responsible for every aspect of the show, both on stage and behind the curtain. UW students from a variety of majors and backgrounds come together to create a professional, two-act performance and take the show on the road during university breaks.
Castro says he looks forward to continuing musical theatre training for young people, like him, who benefit from this unique musical theatre outlet.
"At this point, it's not so much about me as a director, it's more about providing an avenue for UW students to embrace the experience of traveling musical theatre," he says.
Traditionally, Centennial Singers' first public performance of the season is during the judge's deliberation at UW's annual Homecoming Sing competition. For more information visit www.uwyo.edu/singers or call Castro at (307)766-3076.