B-CU student shows play during Founder’s Week

Promotional banner for 'Mary's Children'
Promotional banner for 'Mary's Children'

Welcome to First Person Singular, a new feature for the Voice of the Wildcats, where students get to tell their own stories of triumph, adversity, travel and the like in their voice. We hope you enjoy this inaugural feature on Gino Cyrus. 

Bethune-Cookman University was founded Oct. 3, 1904. Now, 113 years later, our campus continues to annually acknowledge the significance of not only this specific day, but also the life and legacy of our founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. 

This year was the first time in B-CU history that Founder's Day was celebrated for an entire week. There were many highlights, but on a personal level, it was Oct. 4 for me because that is when an abridged version of my hip-hop musical about the reincarnation of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, titled "Mary's Children," was showcased in the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center. 

This, however, is not the first time 'Mary's Children" has been showcased. It first debuted during the 2017 spring semester in the Black Box Theatre. It was produced by professor Julius John, director of theatre, and featured students in his acting III. Jacquelyn Townsend played the starring role of "Mary Lynn." There were two shows and admission cost the same amount of money Bethune founded this school upon, $1.50. Both shows sold out and received rave reviews! I was surprised that it was sold out, even though I put up flyers all around the school, invited various people via email and made phone calls to people in and outside of B-CU. I was just glad to see my hard work paid off. 

John and production assistant Jason Hood found they have to limit admission to the play due to the 70-seat capacity of the Black Box Theatre. It was filled to capacity. There were even people standing in order to watch the show both nights. Thanks to the impression it made on students, faculty, administration, locals, and even the descendants and relatives of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune last semester, "Mary's Children" was requested to be performed on a bigger stage, specifically for Founder's Day Week. 

The Oct. 4 performance during chapel was free of charge. It featured a few more cast members than the original show. Jacquelyn Townsend still played Mary Lynn. The third showcase of "Mary's Children" was a success! The instrumentals within the production are a compilation of beats I had made since I started producing beats, which dates back to 2014. The song "I'm Bethune" is a favorite song in the production. 

J. Gino Cyrus
J. Gino Cyrus

I could not thank individuals such as President Hubert Grimes, first lady Daisy Grimes, professor John and many other individuals on campus enough for helping me along my journey toward getting "Mary's Children" to the world.

By J. Gino Cyrus