The end of my junior year marked my first time working on a professional production while in college. I worked on deck crew for "Noises Off" with Playmakers Repertory Company as a course requirement for my major. It was such an unforgettable experience. John May worked as the PA for show, Melanie Johnson and Candyce Adkins were on wardrobe crew, Jessica Sorgi and Margaret Burrus were with me on deck, and the fabulous Chuck Bayang and Sarah Smiley stage managed. Working with Playmakers had always been a desire of mine and after working behind the scenes, I knew I wanted to be on that stage! I got to know some of my professors very well during "Noises Off." Scott Ripley was my Directing professor at the time and he played "Frederick," Jeff Cornell would be my Acting Shakespeare professor and I got to help make sure he was at places with the right props at the top of Act 2, and Ray Dooley, my Acting for TV and Film professor played the hilarious "Selsdon." In addition, I got to meet the fabulous Matt Schneck who played "Garry" and who I found out had performed this role once before opposite Ground Up's Kate Middleton! Lastly, I was introduced to the wonderful graduate students Kelsey Didion, Katie Paxton, and Brandon Garegnani (Two of which have graduated now and are pursuing a career in NYC! Best of wishes ladies!) It was such a fun show to be involved with and I am so thankful to have gotten a glimpse of what the professional theatre is like from behind the curtain.
Headed into senior year I wanted to utilize all of my resources and I auditioned for everything! The first show I went out for was "Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl which was being directed by graduate student Nathanial Claridad! I had read the play over the summer and was excited at the prospect of working with a grad student. I auditioned and made the cast as "Big Stone" along side Mason Cordell and Izzy Francke! This was such a beautiful show to be a part of. The set, the sounds, the rehearsal process, Nathanial's vibrant style choices, "the Stones" learning to walk and talk and breathe as one. It was a role that did not have much background in the text and allowed for many weeks of play. If I had to choose work in college that I was genuinely proud of, "Eurydice" would be very high on the list.
At the same time, I auditioned and got cast in Broadway Abridged with Company Carolina, I would be playing Tom Winfield in "Glass Menagerie Abridged" and "Tony" in "West Side Story Abridged." It is here that I met some of the most incredible undergrads in my time here at UNC. I got to be in the same show with Melanie and Izzy even though we were not all in the same set.
I also met Joseph Townsend, the biggest go-getter, most involved, and largest dreamer I've met at UNC. If he has an idea, it is never long before it is a reality. I've been so impressed with his work on a collaborative film series called "Project Bucket" that documents events one should partake in before graduating from UNC. Bryce Edwards, Sarah Playsk, Diana Castano, Flavia Crovesi, Matt Verner, Colin Wilson, Caroline Pittman, Carol Ardiles, your friendships have made me so happy. You are all incredible.
My last show of my undergrad theatrical career was, appropriately, back where I began with Pauper Players, this time in Broadway Melodies 2013, in which I played "Robert Downey Jr" in the "Avengers Convention" musical. This little gem was directed by the talented performer, writer, and personal friend Alex Koceja. The show was a huge success and landed me the award for "Best Actor in Bway Melodies" at this years Penny Awards.
Closing out my time with undergrad productions was a special time. My dream of working as an actor with Playmakers Repertory Company become a reality in late January 2013 when I was cast in "Cabaret." All of a sudden, it was time to begin my professional career as an actor!
To be continued...