Are you passionate about singing, dancing or music? Do you want the opportunity to try out all three of these at once? Did you always want to be an actor? With the theater minor, you have the chance to try out all of this. There’s a variety of classes, both required and optional, that students in the minor can take, such as Acting 1, Acting 2, Acting 3, Script Analysis, History of Musical Theatre and study abroad opportunities as well, with a trip to Spain and Portugal slated for January 2023. Everyone has the chance to partake in plays, musicals, one acts and everything in between to determine if they want to pursue the theater minor or not.
“A mainstage production season provides numerous opportunities for students to develop skills as directors, actors, stage man-agers, and technicians in a wide repertoire of classic and contemporary plays and musicals,” said Brett Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Mercyhurst theatre program. “Recent productions include She Kills Monsters, A Dickens of a Carol (world premiere), The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Anne of Green Gables (world premiere), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Dracula, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Auditions are open to all Mercyhurst students, but theater minors get priority in casting.”
However, this is not the only exciting part of the theater minor; students can also work with guest artists too. “Each year, the theater program offers a series of master classes, workshops, and Q&As with industry professionals. Recent guests include Bryce Pinkham, Anika Larsen, and Matt Doyle,” said Johnson. Being in the theater minor can be tough at first but is very rewarding in the end. “The skills gained in the study of theater – critical thinking, creative problem solving, oral and written communication, self-expression, working cooperatively, time management, adaptability, self-discipline, concentration, and leadership – prepare students for successful endeavors, regardless of their chosen vocation,” said Johnson. Theater is a passion for Johnson as well as many students within the minor, “Theater provides a safe space for students to take risks, to practice empathy, to develop self-confidence, and to find their voice as artists, scholars, and citizens of the world.”
The students within the theater program, whether they are veterans or rookies, have all benefited from the minor. Lindsey Markiewicz, a freshman psychology major, despite being new to the mi-nor still, has grown to love it. “I chose to minor in theater for a few reasons. One I have always been a fan of the theater, my dad and I go to see shows at Playhouse Square all the time, so that is what sparked my interest,” said Markiewicz. “I have always been too nervous to try acting myself so when I got to Mercyhurst I knew I wanted to get involved and challenge myself. So, I took Acting One this semester and instantly loved it and knew I wanted to continue this path and added on my minor. My favorite thing about being in the theater minor is connecting with like-minded individuals and being able to learn from them, especially Dr. Johnson! Learning from them pushes me to be the most authentic version of myself.”
Justice Alleruzzo, a senior communications major, has been in the minor for all of his college career. “I chose the theater minor because it’s challenging and enjoyable,” Alleruzzo said. “I was involved in theater in high school, and my theater director at the time really inspired me to continue being in theater in college. I really like how the minor challenges you. For example, in the Script Analysis course, you actually have to think and dissect what the script is tell-ing you, like being the director of the script, rather than just read it.”
The theater minor is open to anyone and everyone that is interested. Even if you are not interested in setting foot on stage yourself, be sure to check out the performances put on by students in the theater department. Do not forget to mark your calendars for April 7-10 when the spring musical comes to Taylor Little Theater!