May 13, 2024

In just a few short days in the heart of Orlando’s Loch Haven Park, a group of Theatre UCF alums will bring the world-premiere of their new music to the stage as part of this year’s Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. What began as a mere theatrical endeavor by aspiring artists during their time at UCF, has evolved into the heartfelt new musical Life Goes On? –– exploring personal narratives, artistic expression, and enduring friendship.

This collaborative project began more than ten years ago when the show’s writer Damian Barray (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘14), began collaborating with fellow Theatre UCF students Joshian Morales (BFA Musical Theatre, ’13) and Kayla Kelsay Morales (BFA Musical Theatre, ’13) early in their time at UCF. More than a decade later, Life Goes On? is now co-produced by Kelsay + Morales Company alongside Barray, and is tapping into local talent to round out the creative team.

“We felt great support from the faculty at UCF while we were students there and were encouraged to push the boundaries of our work,” said Joshian Morales, the director of Life Goes On? and fellow Theatre UCF alum. “We are big supporters of Central Florida and elevating the talent here.”

With a stellar cast including Barray as Calvin, Dee Quintero (BFA Acting, ‘14) as Gabby, Max Herskovitz as Jon, with Nico Watson (BA Theatre Studies w/Music Minor, ‘20) and Ariana Ortiz in ensemble roles, the stage is set for a journey through life’s twists and turns, all set to music. Led by the creative minds of these playwrights, actors, and directors with their roots in Central Florida, this captivating musical follows the (mis)adventures of Calvin, a plucky millennial on a mission to prove one thing: His life is just fine…really.

Weaving together the threads of their individual journeys into a tapestry of collective experience, Barray has continued to nurture the seed of their shared dream. Incorporating the triumphs and tribulations of his personal life into the fabric of the musical’s narrative, his personal touches woven into the musical have ultimately culminated in the show becoming a semi-autobiographical production of Barray’s life experiences.

“[Life Goes On?] reflects the evolution of art and life as the show has adapted with us,” Barray said.

For audiences attending Orlando Fringe this year, Barray’s Life Goes On? will not only offer an evening of entertainment, but an immersive journey into the hearts and minds of its creators. From the opening overture to the final curtain call, prepare to be transported on a whirlwind adventure of laughter, tears, and ultimately, the celebration of the human spirit.

“We hope the audience laughs and feels entertained,” Barray said. “We want it to help anyone who may be struggling in their own life, to know that they’re not alone and that in some capacity, everyone is living through the same existential crises.”

To see these Theatre UCF alums in action, be sure to mark your calendars for the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, with the show opening on May 16. Life Goes On? will be performed as part of Fringe’s BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) at The Renaissance Theatre with the following show dates and times:

– Thursday, May 16th @ 6:30 pm

– Saturday, May 18th @ 7:30 pm

– Sunday, May 19th @ 1:30 pm

– Wednesday, May 22nd @ 8:00 pm

– Saturday, May 25th @ 3:00 pm

– Saturday, May 25th @ 9:00 pm

– Sunday, May 26th @ 4:30 pm

Tickets are available for purchase here, There are also $6 tickets available on opening night, with student discounted tickets available throughout the festival.