By Melissa Brady, Staff Writer

UMF students entering the theatre to see the Broadway show "Wicked" (photo courtesy of Melissa Brady)

UMF students entering the theatre to see the Broadway show “Wicked” (photo courtesy of Melissa Brady)

Nearly a hundred University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) students, along with a few faculty members, made their way to New York City to see Broadway shows through the excursions program on Saturday, September 20th.

After eight months of planning, Center for Student Involvement (CSI) Assistant Director Maya Kasper, and one of her two leaders Matt Theriault, were able to bring about 90 students on a trip to New York City (NYC) to see “Wicked” and “The Lion King” on Broadway.

Kasper has been organizing these trips for the excursions programs for about six years now. This year they were able to take more students and for the first time give offer two shows to choose from. “This year we were able to take two buses; we usually take only one,” said Kasper.

The trip  offered students the chance to get away from campus and try something new. Abby Brown, a first year student and creative writing major, was excited about the opportunity to experience something  different. “It was the first time I ever got to go to New York City to see a Broadway show,” said Brown.

Brown chose  to see the show “Wicked,” and really enjoyed it. “I found it very intriguing. I had no idea what it was about. I usually try and figure out what is going to happen, but I tried not to do that this time,” said Brown. “The production of the play was incredible. The stage work, especially the dragon that sits above the stage was awesome.”

Brown went on to say, “I would definitely take the trip again in a heartbeat!”

She also had good things to say about the leaders that took her on the trip. “They did an excellent job. They were relaxed and friendly, but attentive and alert to make sure no one got left behind or put in a place of danger,” said Brown.

Senior Matt Theriault, a trip advisor and international studies major, was among the few faculty and/or leaders go to NYC. Theriault has been with the program for four years and has enjoyed the experience. “When I was a first year, I went on the Fire and Ice trip and said to myself ‘I’m confident and fun to be around and I’m a diligent worker… I could totally do this job,’ said Theriault. “I went to Maya Kasper and expressed extreme interest and my experience with travel planning and I fortunately made it into the program.”

He said that the trip was a success and not as stressful as one might think, when considering the number of people and the size of the city. “We are open and friendly and we are ourselves. During the ride, we try to get to know the students, make them laugh, enjoy our commentary, so that they respond to us in a positive way. I rarely get nervous and by rarely, I mean ever,”  said Theriault.  He emphasized how important it is to be confident in this job so that if something were to happen they would be able to take control and handle it calmly.

Kasper and Theriault will continue to plan future excursions, particularly the annual NYC trip, giving students the opportunity to spend some time away from campus, have a great time, and build memories that will last a lifetime.