Tent veteran Adora Lorae Snead celebrates final student performance with “Mystic Pizza” - Reynolds College Blog (2024)

Missouri State University’s Tent Theatre will wrap up its 62nd season with the musical “Mystic Pizza.”

Adapted from the 1988 romantic comedy film, the “Mystic Pizza” musical is a coming-of-age story of three young women set to a soundtrack of hits from the 1980s and 1990s.

The story is especially poignant for student actor Adora Lorae Snead, who will continue her own life adventures as a newly minted acting professional after the Tent season closes.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. July 5-6 and 8-13.

“Mystic Pizza” is directed by Professor Sarah Wiggin of MSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

New adventures ahead, but one more Tent in store

Snead, who graduated in Spring 2024 with a BFA in Musical Theatre, will head to New York City this August to pursue a career in the performing arts while also working as a grant writer.

“I hope to help organizations that provide equity, diversity and access to arts education in communities across the nation,” Snead said.

But for now, her focus is on Tent and helping to create an amazing experience for the “Mystic Pizza” audiences.

Snead described “Mystic Pizza” as a story of sisterhood, friendship and community.

“It’s also full of your favorite ’80s pop/rock numbers,” she added. “The cast is stellar, the story is fun, and it’s truly a feel-good musical for all to enjoy.”

Creating “fun stories” builds professional portfolio

Snead describes herself as “lucky” to have worked most summers with Tent in some capacity since she began her college life at MSU.

“I couldn’t be more proud or grateful to get to share a part in creating these fun stories,” she said.

In addition to her dual roles as intimacy captain and ensemble cast in “Mystic Pizza,” some of Snead’s other stints as a Tent Theatre performer include “Beehive: the 60s Musical,” “Xanadu” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

“As an intimacy captain, my job is to take the choreography provided to the actors by our director and make sure it stays consistent, safe and comfortable for them throughout the run,” Snead explained. “Think dance captain, but with intimacy choreography rather than dance choreography.”

While all her ensemble roles have complimented her musical theatre career goals, identifying a favorite role is a challenge, Snead admitted.

“Choosing a favorite role is really tricky because each show is attached to a special part of my life and growth as an actor,” Snead said. “Not to mention that all of these shows are set in the 1960s-1980s, which means the music rocks!”

Tent veteran Adora Lorae Snead celebrates final student performance with “Mystic Pizza” - Reynolds College Blog (2)

Fast-paced schedule, hard work and fun

Snead described working in this year’s Tent as exciting, fast-paced and fun.

“To start, we are in the John Goodman Amphitheater,” Snead explained. “The space is darling, and I love getting to see the sunset while singing our hearts out on stage.”

Rehearsal schedules and continuous preparation keep her on her toes, though.

“Doing two shows this season, I learned in a new way that Tent is a really quick process. You rehearse 7-8 hours a day for three weeks and then the show begins.”

Snead credits MSU’s theatre and dance faculty with prioritizing the student actors’ well-being while holding them to high standards.

“The directors are really smart and intentional with pacing things out to make the days accessible, productive and fun for everyone,” Snead said.

As a result, the hard work seems worth it as the show takes shape.

“We get a lot of work done really quickly and sometimes the days feel long,” Snead continued. “It’s so fulfilling to see a lot of progress and growth at the end of the day and to think ‘Wow, five days ago, this part of the show did not exist!’”

“I think we all probably fall asleep pretty quickly at night!”

When not rehearsing, Snead spends time researching her characters and ensuring she captures their essence accurately.

“The research…remains the same, whether you have a named role or are in the ensemble and portraying a variety of characters,” Snead said.

“That part is fun because you get to take real information and mold it into these new people you create and live with for a little while,” she continued.

Tent veteran Adora Lorae Snead celebrates final student performance with “Mystic Pizza” - Reynolds College Blog (3)

Creating a joyful community

One of the experiences Snead will remember most is how Tent creates a joyful sense of community.

“The casts and crew genuinely love each other a lot. We hang out often to work on the shows but also just to bond,” she said.

Getting together for activities like game nights, hikes, pool days and bonfires only cements that bond, which becomes evident on stage, Snead said.

“It’s really cool to know that the camaraderie that audiences see on stage is truly built in friendship and connection as a team,” she explained.

Snead hopes audiences will understand the degree of talent, hard work and expertise that goes behind a Tent production.

“It truly takes a village of professionals to meet the rigorous demands of the season,” she explained. “The tech team blows my mind with what they’re able to produce so quickly and with expertise.”

“Every aspect of each production is run by professionals who spend countless hours not only investing into the season, but cultivating the next generation of professionals,” Snead added. “It’s so beautiful to see and special to be a part of!”

Memories of hard work and good times are just part of what Snead will take with her when she treks to New York City. She credits her experience in MSU’s theatre and dance program with helping her grow as a professional and as a person.

“I have made life-long friendships and feel truly confident about who I am and what I have to offer as I enter into the next phase of my career,” she said. “Missouri State has given me the training, confidence, team, support and courage to pursue this as my career, and I am so grateful for the chance they took on me.”

“Thank you, MSU Theatre and Dance! Thank you, Tent Theatre! Thank you family, friends and community!”

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Tent veteran Adora Lorae Snead celebrates final student performance with “Mystic Pizza” - Reynolds College Blog (2024)
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