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New musical showcases work by arts scholar, alumni group support

Alan Flurry

This week, UGA Theatre presents “First Semester: A Musical,” an original work written by undergraduate and Cora Nunnally Miller Arts Scholar Wyn Alyse Thomas, directed by Thomas and Sydney Rainwater and supported by the New Georgia Group fund.

“First Semester: A Musical” represents a new addition to UGA Theatre’s seasonal offerings—a slot dedicated to original student-written, student-produced work supported by the New Georgia Group fund. The fund was established in 2009 by an association of alumni known as the “New Georgia Group,” whose ranks included Carl Clifford, Wayne Knight, Brian Reddy and Barbara Woods, among others. The criteria for receiving the award includes “artistic risk-taking and new approaches in concept and expression, while maintaining an appreciative audience.”

Performances will be held in the Cellar Theatre of the Fine Arts Building on March 21-23 at 8 p.m. and March 24 at 2 p.m. Admission is free. Tickets can be reserved at or by phone at 706-542-4400. A suggested donation of $10 benefits student theatre troupe Thalian Blackfriars.

In spring 2023, the department of theatre and film studies Honors & Awards committee selected second-year theatre major Wyn Alyse Thomas’s original musical “First Semester” as the New Georgia Group fund recipient. Thomas, however, is no stranger to creating original works. Despite only being in her sophomore year, Thomas’ plays “Commitment Issues,” “stand. Up. HIT!” and “Write Their Wrongs” have already been published by Next Stage Press, Samuel French and Playscripts respectively.

“First Semester” follows Alicia, a chronic overachiever with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder whose fervor for scholastic excellence is undone by the rigors of college living. Between her plummeting grades and her long-time friend taking collegiate excess to its extremes, Alicia must find a way to navigate her uncertain new reality.

Congratulations to Thomas, the department of theatre and film studies, and this wonderfully engaged group of extraordinary alumni determined to keep live theatre alive and vibrant. Well done!

Image: Wyn Thomas, UGA Photo

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