Showcase Players, Director Remember Zachary Douglas McCarthy
Wristbands and a program tribute are ways the Showcase Players from Music Showcase in Brandon are remembering Zachary Douglas McCarthy, the 16-year-old voice student from Bloomingdale who died in a car accident Jan. 2.
"What Would Zachary Do?" That explains the "WWZD" stitched into the black wristbands worn by director Miquel Oquendo and his cast of players at the James McCabe Theater in Valrico this weekend.
"Zachary was one of the most sweetest, nicest kids I've ever met in my entire life," Oquendo said, after the final curtain of the Jan. 26 performance of Parade, the current production of the Showcase Players. "He always had a smile on his face and his emotions were honest. I'll miss him forever."
McCarthy, 16, died Jan. 2 after losing control of his car near the intersection of Natures Way and Golf Meadow Boulevard in Bloomingdale, near where he lived. He was a student at Bloomingdale High, where he was active in the band, chorus and Ambassadors show choir. McCarthy was a member of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Riverview and took voice lessons from Oquendo at Music Showcase in Brandon.
There, the Showcase Players, under the auspcies of the Florida Academy of Performing Arts (FAOPA), meet to rehearse. The group's latest production, Parade, in on stage at the James McCabe Theater in Valrico.
The show tells the story of Leo Frank, whose death in 1915, as a Jewish man living in the south and unjustly tried for the death of one of his factory workers, shed "insight into the desperation of human nature, the fear and prejudice that afflict mankind, and the strong forces that attempt to counteract these societal evils."
The show is about "the loss they felt in 1915," Oquendo said, "and this is our loss in 2013, almost 100 years later."
The armbands sporting the initials "WWZD" are one way to pay tribute to McCarthy. A second way came in the back cover of the show's program, which noted McCarthy's date of birth and date of death, printed above a reprint of "The Dash," written by Linda Ellis.
The "dash" represents all the time that a person lives on earth, and ends with the words: "So, when you're eulogy's being read with your life's actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spend your dash?"
"The dash is your life," Oquendo said. "The dash is the impact you had on people, what you leave behind. It's how you touch people and how you'll be remembered."
As for McCarthy, Oquendo said: "He lived 16 years and he had a profound impact on people by his actions and the way he cared about people." He will "be missed forever."