Theatre Student Gets Chosen To Perform Alongside Mamie Parris

Aisha Tofiq, Photographer


When it was announced that the All Star Cast of the Texas State Thespian Festival was accepting auditions, theatre student senior Ryan Esparza took a chance and sent his audition in.

“I really had never heard of it before, ever, I think it’s the first year, so I had nothing, I didn’t know whether to be nervous or just have fun. I was just like, “Whatever, I’m just going to do whatever I usually do,” Esparza said.

Though the audition took preparation, Esparza didn’t hesitate.

“I sent in a dance video, a singing video, and an acting video, it was a little nerve wracking filming those. I sent those in and then I heard back that I had made the cut,” Esparza said.

When he heard back, he couldn’t contain his excitement, which resulted in him jumping up and down.

“When I found out, honestly, I was jumping up and down. My mom is like really chill about everything, she literally just sent me the list and she didn’t say anything and I was like “AGGHH” Esparza said.

He also got the chance to perform alongside someone he looks up to, a current cast member of a Broadway show, Mamie Parris.

“I had never actually met Mamie Parris. I had seen a video of her singing one of the most iconic songs in theatre but I had never actually met her,” Esparza said. “Once I met her I was like “wow” because its someone we’ve idolized. Just by looking at her, you’ve learned so much. Just by hearing her sing, you’ve learned so much. It was such a crazy experience.”

Esparza expressed how fun the experience was and how it wasn’t very stressful.

“The entire experience, first of all, it was a lot of fun, it wasn’t taken too seriously because the hard part and the stressful part was over, so it was really just like show us who you are and show us what you’re best at and we will showcase that and with a person who we all look up to.” Esparza said.


There was one particular moment that really made him aware of the wonderful people he was surrounded by and the experience he was having.

“It was such a crazy experience, it didn’t really hit me until we started singing a song “You Will Be Found” it’s not just from a musical and great music, it’s really something musical theatre artists really relate to because we do find ourselves within every step of the way in musical theatre, it was really great,” Esparza said.


Esparza was nominated by his theatre director Tina Domino, who expressed how proud she was of Ryan for the work he does in theatre.


“I chose to nominate Ryan because he’s wonderful, he’s an incredible leader, he choregraphed our musical, worked so hard, he didn’t give himself enough credit on preparing for all of that.” Domino said. “He takes dance classes, he takes voice lessons, he works hard. He’s very deserving.”

Domino also shared the Klein 5 attributes that Esparza has.

“The attributes that Ryan has that represent Klein 5 are integrity, his service, hours upon hours upon hours to choreograph the musical, and he just got a pat on the back and a hug.” Domino said. “Empathy, he really does feel for everyone, he understands the process of what everybody’s going through and pushes them to be the best that they can be. He’s all of them. All of them.”

Aside from the fact that the experience was fun, Esparza talked about how much he had even learned from it.

“One thing I learned from this experience is that yes in theatre you do have to have relationships, but if you have a group of artists who have never met each other, you can make beautiful work.” Esparza said. “I had never met any of these people, I felt like they were my family.”