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Published: June 13, 2024

UT Senior Stars as Snoopy in Professional Debut

Kelsey Lopez ’25, in Snoopy’s iconic Red Baron goggles and red cape, sang for her supper.


Kelsey Lopez ’25 sang for her supper in her professional debut with ThinkTank Theatre from June 7th-16th in their production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Photo by Ashley Emrick

In a song called “Suppertime,” Kelsey Lopez ’25, a musical theater major, sings in her professional debut with Tampa’s ThinkTank Theatre, June 7-16, in its production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” 

The musical required “a leap” from Lopez to audition, she said, but the journey brought her joy and career connections that she never expected.

She found out about the professional theater company from friends at UT and was encouraged to try out. Lopez auditioned for several of the characters besides Snoopy, but ultimately landed the role of the iconic dog. To study, she watched her own dog around the house and practiced how to “sing” a bark or “say” a howl.

The role is a departure for Lopez, who has previously starred in more somber productions at UT, like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Lopez enjoyed the switch.

“I haven't done a fun show in a while,” she said. “This was something that's just completely fun and joyful and astounding.” 

She said the audience can feel the upbeat energy, too.

“There's a line in this show: ‘Happiness is anyone, anything at all that's loved by you.’ And it's so sweet. And it's so tender. And you can just tell the whole theme of the show, even though it's funny, and it's a kid (saying the line), there's still this aspect of joy.”

That positivity is something Lopez trying to carry into her career. She says her mother, father and fiancé have been largely supportive of her pursuing a career in musical theater, but she has received questions and pushback from others.

She also has had to overcome negativity from herself.

“It's very easy to become insecure in an industry that's all about you,” Lopez said.

“It's about what you bring to the table. How do you look, and what's your dance level? What's your range? … It's very personal. You have to take it with a grain of salt.”

She said she wants to showcase herself as a confident performer, and she learned how to do so in an audition by taking classes at UT. 

Lopez credited the professors, classmates and an audition class at UT for professionalizing her acting chops. She called the program one of “training and support” where everybody knows everybody. 

“UT's intimacy is really what drew me…. Faculty know you and know how you work and what you do, and I really like that things can get nitpicky with how we can better ourselves and improve,” she said. 

Through landing the Snoopy role, Lopez is mingling with a New York-based cast and crew.

Working with professionals motivates her, Lopez said. “There was definitely a little bit of intimidation,” she said. “When I first came into rehearsals, I was, like, ‘OK, what's the expectation here? … What are they going to think? Can I be up to par with everyone?’ At least that's the way I was thinking about my worth as a performer.”

The professionals were friendly and helped put Lopez more at ease.

“I know that if I work hard, and I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm going to feel successful and feel supported no matter what,” she said. 

“This show is just full of happiness,” Lopez said.

Story by Lena Malpeli '25 

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