Theatre has been a passion of mine for nearly my whole life.
I started doing little church plays when I was in elementary school. For an 8-year-old, this was the ultimate thrill. That was really the beginning of this whole adventure, even though I didn’t know it at the time.
I was in my first full length musical when I was in 7th grade. It was an adapted version of Disney’s Aladdin, and I was definitely the palest person on stage for a play set in the Middle East! Thus began my love affair with community theatre. I was involved in community theatre off-and-on throughout middle school and high school.
The last community theatre production I was in was Fiddler on the Roof. I played Grandma Tzeitel and I have no idea how I got that role. It was very against my type cast, (I was pretty nervous to play and old, dead, Jewish lady) but it was actually pretty fun!
That’s me. This was fall of my senior year, when I was actually doing two musicals at the same time. Community theatre and…
Enter high school theatre! I was in the cast of all four fall musicals throughout high school, which was definitely an experience. It’s amazing how much of a different perspective you have after some time has passed, but now I would definitely say Beauty and The Beast was actually really fun to be in, though I didn’t realize it at the time. Because I know you’re curious, I played one of the Silly Girls. You know, they’re those blonde bimbos that swoon over Gaston? Yup, represent. The thing that made this trio so fun was the other two bimbos I spent the whole show with. One was my best friend of 10+ years, and the other was a super fun girl I got to be really good friends with throughout the show. Suffice it to say, Susannah, Sage, and I were always in character.
That’s me in the middle. It sums me up so well.
When I graduated, I was glad to leave high school theatre behind. I enjoyed high school theatre at first, but I despised it by the end. My senior musical was The Wizard of Oz and I’ve vowed to never do that show again. It was definitely the worst experience I’ve ever had in theatre, but somehow I was still compelled to make it my major.
Look, I’m a tree! Dream role of many senior students. I particularly like the scarecrow in the background. Such honesty.
To be honest, I got into the theatre game pretty late compared to many of my classmates. I didn’t start thinking seriously about a career in theatre until my junior year of high school. My junior year was also the year I started serious vocal training and my love of dance. So yeah, pretty late in the game comparatively. Luckily, performing in musicals was something I had been doing for years, so I had a pretty solid basis of how the whole thing worked.
The real trigger that launched me into the world of musical theatre was the 25 Anniversary Performance of The Phantom of the Opera. It was all downhill from there. To this date, it is still my favorite show of all time, and playing Christine is my number one dream role.
College theatre is a completely different story.
Focusing your energy on performing arts full-time is a surefire way to see improvements in your performances. Not to mention the constant constructive criticism from your professors, and the competitive atmosphere with your classmates; you improve your skills fast. It’s hard too! But honestly, I can’t imagine majoring in anything else.
(Costumes by Jaclyn Britz, Set by Jake Sullivan)
This was a show that I was in that was for freshman only. Our reward for doing the show was a trip to NYC. 🙂
Accepting that I was going to major in theatre was a process for me and those who know me. At first, my parents and I wanted me to have a second major along with theatre, but that idea has long been scratched. After that, I had several people approach me wondering what I was going to do to make money. It was obvious that they thought majoring in theatre was a fruitless investment. Another common question I keep getting is “what do you plan to do with that degree?” which is just a more polite way of asking the same thing. Even my academic advisor asked me what my backup plan was.
Throughout all of this I’ve realized that most people just simply aren’t educated about what goes into majoring in theatre. The truth is that if you go to a good school and work hard, you will succeed in theatre. I get the impression that people are generally unaware of the multitude of prospects available for those who are skilled in theatre. It really is a huge industry, and I have no intention of being a starving artist, therefore I work very hard.
I try to be patient with these uneducated people, but I know that the success me and my classmates achieve will be a testament to the life of a theatre major. In all honesty, the major you pick is only as good as what you do with it, therefore, there isn’t really one major that’s harder or easier than the other.
Anyway, I love theatre and I am so lucky that I get to be so involved with all aspects of theatre. And I know my journey with theatre isn’t over.
To be continued…