News

Taking a look at the lives of theatre arts students

cabaret

Life is a cabaret: Junior Mike Collier (center) performs as part of the ensemble during the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre’s production of Cabaret last fall. Kent Lantaff // First Impression Staff

Junior Mike Collier took psychology as an elective during his freshman year and did not like it.

While scrolling online for classes the next semester, he decided to sign up for introduction to theatre. That changed his life.

“On the first day of class, we talked about elements of theater and what makes it so special and unique,” Collier said. “My love for theater all rushed back to me from my first part when I was 9 years old, and I realized it wasn’t something I could stop doing.”

That Friday, Collier tagged along with his roommate, Matthew, to the on-campus auditions for Little Shop of Horrors. He won the lead role of Seymour.

The veteran of more than 30 musicals now credits these events for helping him make the decision to major in theatre arts.

“I never thought that majoring in theater was a viable option because I didn’t want to be one of those starving actors who weren’t good enough, because it’s so competitive,” he said.

Recent graduate Kevin Rose said his mother was responsible for initially getting him involved. She helped him overcome his stage fright in fourth grade for an audition of Beauty and the Beast and encouraged him to hone the skills he would need.

Rose said his family has always supported his major and believed in him.

“My mom found every theater company, every voice teacher and every academic institution,” he said. “She found everything that got me started.”

At UM, theatre arts majors’ required classes include visits from image consultants that prepare them for auditions.

Collier said that resumes don’t matter as much.

“If the director casting doesn’t like the way you look, he won’t hire you,” he said. “You can’t control that. It’s so unpredictable.”

Junior Annette Navarro sang pop music until the end of her junior year of high school when she took an acting class.

“I was so happy that I could do all three things in one profession, singing, acting and dancing,” she said. “That’s what makes musical theater so hard.”

Musical theatre students generally don’t earn internships while in school like other majors. Their experience is based on actual paid or unpaid jobs.

Department of Theatre Arts Chair Vince Cardinal said that the biggest difference between a theatre major and other majors is that actors sell themselves as “brands” when they audition.

“Most of them end up going to New York City because that’s the nexus for all kinds of work, and out of there they can get jobs at regional theaters, dinner theaters, TV and film,” Cardinal said. “Most of them make their way up the ladder.”

He said that once students take on a role, they must balance rehearsals and schoolwork.

Rose’s break came this past spring when he earned the role of a male understudy for the production of Forbidden Broadway at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Mollye Otis, the program director of vocal performance in musical theatre, said she jokingly tells her students to get her front row seats when they make it to Broadway.

“There’s a really special thrill when you see students make it and get out there and really get to work,” she said. “You see them through the formative stages of their career paths and sometimes you make or break a person in a college situation.”

Rose plans to look into regional and professional theatres on the eastern coast and move to either New York or Chicago.

“You have to be willing to change and to be vulnerable on a daily basis because as a performer it’s really not about you,” he said. “I think I’ve been following this career path for a reason, and it’s where I’m supposed to be.”

August 4, 2009

Reporters

Christina De Nicola

Editor In Chief


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem's incredible career earned her a place ...

Check out the latest edition of Hurricane Magazine. ...

Members from the Miami track and field team spent the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami ...

UM administrators, coaches and alums took part in yesterday's allCanes Holiday Shopping Spree f ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.