Two Texas State students are on the verge of being in the spotlight with the creation of their own production company and its debut play, “A Very Potter Musical.”
Corbin Paulino and Tanner Wiggins created Prospecting Productions in their freshman dorm, eager to start a theatre company open to all talents.
Wiggins, theatre sophomore, said auditions in the Department of Theatre and Dance can be intense and competitive. Not everyone gets the opportunity to work in a production.
“Most people dream about being in a big production, and it’s heart crushing that many people don’t see those dreams fulfilled,” said Paulino, theatre sophomore. “That’s why we named the company Prospecting Productions. We want to give an opportunity to find that hidden talent.”
Paulino and Wiggins first went to John Fleming, chair of the department, for advice and to get the involved. They wanted it to become a tradition in the Department of Theatre and Dance, similar to the student run production groups at other universities.
Paulino said they also wanted to make sure the project didn’t interfere with any of the school’s productions to insure that anyone could be involved.
“Fleming loves the ideas of students making their own production,” Paulino said. “He gave full support to the project, like mentioning it during student meetings and to faculty.”
The team chose “A Very Potter Musical” as their first show because of the large fan base of “Harry Potter,” including theatre and musical enthusiasts. Paulino said doing a popular show would get their names out and gain the attention needed to fuel future shows.
Starkid Productions, a troupe based in Chicago, originally created “A Very Potter Musical.” Starkid gave them permission to put on the show as long as they did not make a profit, so the production company will not charge for tickets to “A Very Potter Musical.” Instead, they are funding the project through sponsorships. Wiggins said they were the inspiration for what Prospecting Productions could become.
“We were amazed by all that Starkid did. At first they didn’t have a budget and didn’t get too technical,” Wiggins said. “But the show was great and it was cool how the group bonded. We want something like that here.”
Diane Irwin, theatre freshman, said the team is trying to make it a little different from Starkid’s version. The set, for example, will have more doors, a moving staircase and floating frames.
“Starkid did a great job, but a lot of it was improvisation. We want it to be more real,” said Eric Meo, theatre junior. “Along with the floating frames idea, we are working on a full-scale dragon puppet. We’ve got the plans for it—it’s just putting it all together.”
The play doesn’t have much of a budget for set construction or a venue because of the nature of being a student-run production.
Wiggins said the team will reach out to local businesses for sponsorship once the cast is picked and they put a portfolio together.
“Auditions mean it’s pretty set. So, now we are going to put posters everywhere and talk to everyone,” Irwin said. “We’re even going to get help from friends in Austin to spread the word.”
The team has the musical score, set ideas and is working on costumes. Depending on the monetary situation, the venue might be Evans Auditorium or Texas Music Theater.
Prospecting Productions is estimating their show date to be around the beginning of January before auditions for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s spring productions start.
The future of Prospecting Productions is still up in the air, but many of the students involved are already thinking of sequels and performing in other cities.
“We might bring it to Seguin, but nothing is solidified yet,” Paulino said. “We’ll just have to see where this goes, but Chicago is always on my mind.”