Caleb Evans is used to giving his all in everything he does; playing the lead in this year’s Homecoming Musical is no exception to the rule.
Evans, a senior computer science and theatre major from Irving, will debut in the role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Friday night at the Abilene Civic Center in the comeback of the annual Homecoming Musical.
Evans, cast as Prince Charming in Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella during the 2020 season, said he almost felt lost in musical theatre after setbacks and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic but felt as if this role was a revival for himself and motivation.
“Being given this role, I found fresh motivation and joy,” Evans said. “Last year in the spring… a couple of my friends in the theatre department told me ‘Caleb I think you would play a really good Joseph’ and that’s how I am driven. So once they suggested that and told me that a role that I should go hard for, that’s what I did. I hit the ground running and I was blessed with the opportunity to perform that role.”
Coming back from an unprecedented year has been challenging. As someone who is heavily involved on campus sporting roles at ACUTV and leading worship on occasion in chapel, he has been reminded this by musical what it takes to be able to produce a show to this scale.
Evans has spent a lot of time saying ‘no’ to things and prioritizing his energy during the two and half, almost three, month process of working on this show. Despite the work, he is nothing short of grateful for those three months.
“It’s so easy to forget how involved you have to be in regards to putting on a fully fledged musical, especially one that’s on the Civic Center stage but, basically, the transition has been on in regards to energy and motivation,” Evans said. “What it looks like is saying ‘no’ to a lot of things. It looked like a lot of being intentional in being confident and happy with the yeses I’m blessed with.”
There’s often a stigma that comes with lead roles, one that can paint those actors as divas or self-centered, but Evans made sure that when he was awarded this role, he wanted to use it to create a warm, welcoming space for students in the Theatre Department. He emphasized that as well as including everyone, setting an example by being on time and responsible, he also wanted to have fun.
Nora Vellis, senior theatre major from Abilene, said she has seen that determination on and off the stage.
Vellis mentioned a specific instance in which, after a rehearsal, Evans took the extra time to set an example and clean up the green room at request of the stage manager.
“He did that out of the kindness of his heart and I saw that and thought ‘that is the sweetest, most humble, selfless thing,’” Vellis said. “I don’t think anyone expected him to clean everything, but he did, and I was really glad I was here to witness that.”
For Evan’s fellow actors, actresses and production team, one of the biggest impacts he has left on the department is his character.
“ He’s got charisma, he’s got charm and he’s got a servant heart which is rare in good actors,” Vellis said. “I feel like Caleb has potential to make it big and it would be incredible to see someone like him with such a servant heart do that because I feel like Hollywood and Broadway, they need that; I think Caleb could be that person.”
For Gary Varner, longtime partner of ACU theatre, former faculty member and show director, these descriptions continue to ring true about Evans’ hardwork.
“Without Caleb and his energy and his excitement about playing the pair of the part it would’ve been way more difficult to put the show together that we have,” Varner said.
“Caleb is the perfect Joseph, he represents the power and the love of the story.”
The musical held performances all weekend. ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ is a redemption story for not only the characters but also for the actors coming out of an unprecedented year.
“It’s nothing short of a blessing,” Evans said. “My motto in any show is take it one step at a time and whether that be one day at a time one performance at a time so Im so nervous because of the amount of effort I’ve put into a show but so elated to see the ACU community and the Abilene community as a whole get to see this show.”