Musical Theater Club putting on UNF’s first musical

Colin McCann

Students preparing for the musical read through the script for the first time. Photo courtesy Musical Theater Club.

UNF will hold its very first musical next semester, thanks to the Musical Theater Club. The production “9 to 5” will have three showings Feb. 15-16 in the Andrew A. Robinson Theater on campus. The show will be open to the public and free to attend, although donations will be accepted.

Madeline Aquino, the Musical Theater Club president, says the show has been in progress since April, but there’s still a long way to go.

According to Cat Burns, the show’s stage manager, “9 to 5” follows the story of three women from the late 70s who struggle with sexist ideals in the workplace.

Aquino said moments where actors can cause “real emotion from fake circumstances” are what theatre is all about. She explained that the characters and struggles from the musical they chose are relatable, and that the show has a good message.

“I think, personally, that it’s a great first show for us,” Aquino said. “We wanted something that was fun, had heart, and we could costumes for dirt cheap from thrift shops.”

Anyone in Jacksonville, young, old, student or non-student, had a chance to audition. However, non-students aren’t allowed to receive Student Government funding. Therefore, non-students in the musical had to pay a fee for their costume, food and more.

In a Budget & Allocations Committee meeting UNF Senator Kyle Cohen said the club’s members represent almost every department on campus, and this variety in majors helps spread news about the club and the musical.


Photo courtesy of the Musical Theater club.

In their presentation to the B&A committee, Aquino and Tajti said that as of August 29, they have raised almost $2,000 from donations, a GoFundMe campaign and a Chipotle fundraiser. The committee approved their request for funding, allocating them around $9,000 for the musical.

Aquino, a biomedical science major, founded the club along with nursing major Dominik Tajti, who is now the club’s vice president. They are only in their second year, but they are already making history at UNF.

In the past, UNF has had little to do with musical theater. This is something students like Aquino had to overcome, until last year.

“I had accepted that when I went to UNF, it would be the end of my drama days,” Aquino said. “UNF isn’t known for theatre, and that was one of the reasons I dragged my feet when applying.”

When Tajti came to Aquino with a plan to create a Musical Theater Club, she was hesitant, but she said yes. The first meeting consisted of very few people. However, each meeting afterwards grew in numbers. Aquino said “the club began with only 12 students in 2016, and it now has over 60.”

The group has come a long way, and according to Aquino, they have become a family. They  struggled together to make this musical possible, and they continue to look towards the future, hoping the best for the club.

Burns’ hope for the club is for UNF to one day be known as a school for theatre.

Their next event will be held Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m in building 14 D, room 1700. It’s the Villain Double Feature, where they will show the 2008 musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog,” a well as the 2002 musical “Chicago.”

Preparing for the upcoming production, “9 to 5” Photo courtesy of the UNF Musical Theater Club.


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