Pauper Players kick off 20th year

First production begins Oct. 30

Twenty years ago, a group of students fell in love with “Les Miserables.”

After seeing the show about 17 times on Broadway, they transcribed the script and returned to UNC intent on performing.

They performed the show as a benefit, and Pauper Players, a student-run musical theater group, was born from the funds of that first performance.

“We’re completely student run,” said Elissa Rumer, business administrator for Pauper. “It’s purely a labor of love.”

The group performs three full musicals a year with an additional Broadway review.

Their first production of the year is Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party” on Oct. 30.

“It’s a big roaring ‘20s show about a couple,” Rumer said. “To make each other jealous, they devise a plan to throw the party of the century.”

The musical has a large ensemble cast, which is unusual for Pauper, she said.

Looking back on previous Pauper shows, Rumer said her favorite production was “A New Brain.”

“The cast and staff incorporated a few generations of Pauper,” Rumer said, adding that the cast would sit around and share stories.

People can be involved in all the shows or just a few, but the group tries to have regular get-togethers outside the theater, said Charlie Clark, production administrator.

“We really try to keep an open, inclusive environment,” he said.

The group also plans to have additional events to celebrate their 20th anniversary, such as alumni events. These are still in the works, Clark said.

But even after 20 years, not everyone knows of Pauper.

“Theater is still pretty hidden on campus,” said Aaron Salley, Pauper publicity administrator.

“Pauper offers something for everybody,” he said. “It’s just a shame we don’t get more people involved.”

Pauper Players will have an interest meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union, Room 2518.

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