Home is a Hit: A look at the 5C’s First BIPOC Musical Showcase


Belen Yudess ’25
Social Media Manager

The Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) Musical Showcase: Home ran from Oct. 21 to Oct. 23 at Pomona’s Large Studio Room. The showcase consisted of 10 numbers from a wide array of different musicals such as Rent and High School Musical. From heartfelt ballads like Aladdin’s “Proud of Your Boy” (Vicente Valdez HMC ’25) and tick tick… Boom’s “Why” (Aydin Mallery PZ’ 24), to upbeat showstoppers such as Coco’s “La Llorona” (Destiny Rivera ’24) and Purlie!’s “I Got Love” (Perrin Williams PO ’22), this musical was a love letter to the power of BIPOC voices.

When deciding upon acts for this inaugural production, the directors were very intentional about the songs they chose. “I think they tried to get a variety of styles of shows. But I think one of the things that they really wanted to do was select songs centered around characters that were white or musicals that were traditionally cast for white roles or actors,” said performer Isha Singh ’23. “I think the reason for this was that we were given the space and opportunity to be a part of roles that we may not have had the opportunity to be in.”

The actors were also given a chance to explore songs that were important to their own identities. “They also did select some songs that were culturally important to some of the actors,” said Singh. “Part of that was being able to honor and respect the beautiful music from BIPOC artists as well.”

Singh, who performed an emotional and tear-jerking rendition of Hamilton’s Burn, was grateful for the opportunity to work through her own feelings and past experiences. “I have had personal experiences with infidelity and I tried to tap into that, how I felt when that happened to me and being able to channel the anger, sadness and confusion I felt about all of it,” said Singh. “In the song, I wanted to be able to tell a story [as] she’s entering different stages of grief. You have repeated words in the song, such as burn, [but] not all the burns mean the same thing. She’s literally burning things and she’s burning her past metaphorically. It’s very interesting to go through that. It felt very powerful.”

Singh recognized how this showcase allowed members of the BIPOC community to come together and demonstrate the need for further chances of representation within the theater community at the Claremont Colleges. “We spent a lot of time together within that month [rehearsing] and there was so much respect for each other in this space. Even though our experiences are different, there’s a baseline shared experience of being a minority at a predominantly white institute (PWI),” she said. “In terms of a BIPOC cast that does not happen within the 5C’s, and it was a struggle to even get it to happen. And I think afterwards, a lot of people recognized there actually really is a lot of BIPOC talent.”

Even the interludes between each number were intended to amplify BIPOC voices within a theater setting. “Instead of typical music for the transitions, we wanted to reflect on our experiences of what it means to be BIPOC at a PWI in general and what it means in a performance space; how this experience has been unique.”

The musical included several impactful pieces, but for Singh, one in particular stood out due to its complicated choreography and overall message. “[The Greatest Showman’s] ‘This is Me’ was really hard to put together. Our choreographer could only be at like one rehearsal, so we had to learn a lot of that in one rehearsal, watch videos back and really put a lot of time into it outside of the rehearsal spaces,” said Singh. “The lyrics themselves are talking about embracing who you are and I think that’s a lot about what the show was about.”

Although Home has concluded, Singh hopes that BIPOC showcases become an integral aspect of the 5C performing arts program. “I hope there’s more of these shows like Home Two, Home Three, Moving Homes, Rental Homes!,” said Singh. “I would hope that a lot of individuals who want to do theater who are BIPOC coming into the Claremont Colleges can do this their first year and be welcomed into this space. There’s some people in the cast who were first years and they were like, I’m gonna continue doing this. That’s awesome because they were supported. I also want to recognize that they can be supported outside of this space, but there is something very special about being in a space that is only BIPOC as well.”

Image Source: Belen Yudess ’25

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