Name: Kaleb Jenkins
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Year in School: Sophomore
Major: BFA Musical Theatre
Late last month, the Coastal Carolina Department of Theatre’s production of Bullets Over Broadway came to a close. Kaleb Jenkins, a BFA musical theatre sophomore from Charlotte, took part in the play. Calling it the hardest show he has ever been part of, Kaleb explains that the production simply had a lot packed into it, including tap dancing scenes – something he had never done prior to last month.
Despite the challenges, Kaleb put himself out there and performed to the best of his ability. His involvement in Bullets Over Broadway resembles his decision to attend CCU. Kaleb auditioned for the extremely competitive BFA musical theatre program and was accepted, but he had to decide if he wanted to embrace the heavy expectations and demanding schedule that BFA students take on.
“The training offered in the theatre department at Coastal was very new and scary for me,” Kaleb explains. “I knew I needed to be pushed into something totally different, and I prayed about it and decided to take the risk!”
So far, the risk has paid off. Kaleb is thriving in the BFA program. His confidence has increased and his performing skills have improved. In April, he will be involved in 35mm, another CCU Department of Theatre musical. But, according to Kaleb, there is something he is equally proud of outside of his theatre success. During his almost two years at Coastal, he has ventured well past the halls of the Edwards Building. Whether it be swimming at the Williams-Brice pool, exploring downtown Conway or performing with his popular barbershop quartet (the Fortissibros), he has defined himself not just as a “BFA student” but a “Coastal student.” Trust us, he means it when he says he bleeds teal.
Perhaps the best part about Kaleb is that he is a nice guy who cares about others. Any trace of ego or entitlement is completely absent.
“I love people, I love getting to know people,” Kaleb says. “There is a lot of love inside of me.”
Keep distributing that love, Kaleb, because we love having you on campus.
Q&A with Kaleb
How did you hear about Coastal?: My girlfriend remembered seeing Grant Zavitkovski in a show back in Charlotte and heard that he went to CCU, so she encouraged me to send in a prescreen and audition for the program! And Grant ended up being the lead of the first show I was cast in at CCU (Oklahoma!)
Why did you come to Coastal?: The training offered in the theatre department at Coastal was very new and scary for me. I knew I needed to be pushed into something totally different, and I prayed about it and decided to take the risk! I have never regretted my decision to be a Chant.
Favorite professor: My voice teacher, David Bankston, D.M.A. He is an absolute genius with the singing voice, and I know he always believes in me and the potential of my voice. He is like a grandpa to me and he feels like family.
Favorite class: Acting 2 with Gwendolyn Schwinke. In this class we studied acting in “realism” through Konstantin Stanislavski’s acting method. Gwendolyn is highly trained and is an expert at teaching this process. I grew significantly as a performer in this class.
Favorite aspect of Coastal?: I love sitting in the grass when it gets warmer outside, especially in Blanton Park and Prince Lawn. The school pride here is so fun and I definitely #BleedTEAL. Also, I love Road Rooster and wish it would come back!
Favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area?: Obviously the beach is always a blast, but I especially love downtown Conway because it reminds me a lot of home. I like that we are in a retirement-age area as well. Older people just have a lot to share that is cool to listen to!
Clubs/Intramurals/other extracurricular activities involved in?: I recently performed in “Bullets Over Broadway” and will be an understudy in “35MM.” The shows are both very challenging in very different ways and I am glad I get to perform in them! I am involved in a Bible study group with the Rock Church across the street at C3 Coffee Bar. I am also in a barber shop quartet called the Fortissibros.
Do you work anywhere currently (either on or off campus)?: I currently work as a student assistant for Dean Ennis in Edwards College. It is very interesting to see the administrative side of academia, especially in the arts college. I love watching the negotiations and compromises made between artists and administrators to maintain the integrity of the art while considering the practicality of it.
Plans after graduation?: After graduation, I plan on moving to a city like New York or Chicago and continue working professionally in the theatre. Nothing very specific right now, but I have been doing research on the likelihood of various cities!
What are your hobbies?: When I am not rehearsing for a show, I like to swim at the Williams-Brice pool. I am not in the actual swim club, as I don’t have time for that, but I have gotten to know a few of the lifeguards and other swimmers there! Mostly in my spare time, I love to find an open studio and rehearse a monologue or develop new choreography with my friend, Bryce. I love what I do and I love learning more about it!
Do you have any hidden talents?: I swam competitively for nine years and I still hold multiple records in freestyle and butterfly. I placed fourth in North Carolina in the 50 yard freestyle my junior year, and I competed at the sectional level against swimmers from all across the Southeast.
Bonus Info: My faith in God is what drives me to become a better performer every day. I feel called to pursue musical theatre and God has continually opened doors for me and given me favor with all the right people. I was not a very good performer before I came to Coastal, but the theatre department constantly pushes me to do the seemingly impossible.