Carrie Gates | February 27, 2019
A dozen Notre Dame students are huddled around a keyboard at the back of the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre on a snowy Sunday night.
On cue, the music starts and the ensemble starts chanting, “Won’t give up, won’t give up,” while one student stomps to the beat in Converse tennis shoes.
After running through the song twice, they head to the stage to rehearse it again with choreography. As the group fans out, one young man takes center stage.
“I’m exuberant, tenacious, and a med school dropout. You might think of me as just a cop out. But in reality, I love to sing and write. It’s part of who I am,” he sings.
Like the character he created, Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans is exuberant and tenacious, but no one could mistake him for a cop out.
A junior film, television, and theatre major, he has written the book, lyrics, and music for a new musical — Stupid Humans, which opens Thursday and runs through March 3 — and is also playing the leading role.
As the song fades out, the cast moves directly into one of the most pivotal scenes of his semi-autobiographical work, which Rivera-Herrans drew from a difficult conversation he had with his own father about his academic plan at Notre Dame.
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