After two decades of thematic, multicultural productions, Rainbow Theater will celebrate its highly anticipated 20th anniversary. Student organizers and performers have eagerly prepared to make this year worthwhile.

“The energy is crazy in a good way,” said second-year and Rainbow tech crew member and costume designer Dominik Muro. “Everyone knows this is a big thing. We’re all excited and the excitement is giving such a positive vibe to everyone.”

Premiering and running in November, the show includes three programs. Program A includes the African American and Asian American productions “A Song for Coretta” and “Cleveland Raining,” respectively. Program B includes the Chicano/Latino production “Chican@s: The Living and the Dead” and the yearly student-performed Poet’s Corner. A dance performance compilation by the Rainbow Dance Troupe, as well as this year’s Fifth Element play “Dreamers” will close off the season.

Several of Rainbow’s student organizers including Muro gathered in the Cultural Arts and Diversity office to discuss their thoughts and feelings about Rainbow Theater’s 20th anniversary.

“For me, the most exciting part is knowing this has been happening for 20 years — 20 years of good smiles and of having that sense of community,” Muro said. “I feel like out of all the groups on campus, we hug the most.”

Muro and the rest of these student organizers are a testimony to a sense of respect and community. All shared their personal stories and how they came to be in Rainbow Theater, primarily because of its welcoming openness.

“My first year of college was extremely difficult,” Muro said. “I wasn’t ready academically, and mentally I wasn’t ready to be away from home. Rainbow is my second home, it’s my home away from my home. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Photo by Daniela Ruiz.
Photo by Daniela Ruiz.

Fourth-year, Poet’s Corner co-director and African American Theatre Arts Troupe president Precious Wingo-Waller shared her own history with the program, having accumulated four years of experience in Rainbow Theater.

“I can’t leave [Rainbow Theater], it’s family,” Wingo-Waller said. “This is where I find that wholeness I will never be able to find anywhere else. I know I can come to Rainbow Theater and Rainbow class and know that this is my whole family.”

All of Rainbow Theater’s alumni are invited to join the celebration, coming from across the country to see how the organization has grown during its 20-year run. Both organizers and performers are excited to meet, interact and learn from them.

“It’s like literally being able to talk to your past and being able to get direct advice from them,” said third-year, Rainbow vice president and Fifth Element head stage manager Devinne Vaughn. “The alumni being here makes us want to do better to show them that we have been able to grow from what they started. It’s exciting knowing that all the hard work everyone has [done] in the past is still going.”

Fourth-year and tech crew member Abrianna Hall said preparation wasn’t necessarily any more rigorous than previous years, but was certainly held to a higher standard.

“We could have easily just been like, ‘Oh this is just another year of Rainbow,’ but we worked to make it really, really good,” Hall said.

Rainbow Theater founder Don Williams is also very excited to have alumni back and is ready to showcase what his organization achieved.

“Both the performers and the students put in leadership positions do hard work and I’m incredibly proud of that,” Williams said. “They have been putting out their best.”

Williams reminisced on the history of the organization and its “legacy.”

“I’m really excited, thankful and grateful that 20 years has come — two decades of working hard,” Williams said. “Rainbow Theater created a major change as far as my service toward students goes, and I strive to give more than 100 percent each year. [Rainbow Theater] has been far greater than anything else I’ve done. My heart is overflowing with joy and praise to work with such intelligent, young and gifted students.”