Thespians is the oldest continually running organization at Penn State. We put on two main stage musical productions a year, along with a number of cabarets, benefit performances, and children’s shows. The club is a gathering place for collaborative efforts across the arts – and is also steeped in history. We have around 100 members involved in production, sound, directing, and acting, so there really is a lot going on in our organization. It’s much more than just a couple of shows.
Why do you think your organization is important and meaningful on campus?
I think we are a representative of “old Penn State.” We are one of very few organizations currently on campus that has been around since the first 50 years of Penn State’s founding. I also think we play a prominent role in engaging the community in the arts though different performances and provide a great opportunity for self-expression – you could be a very musical person, or administrative person, or financial person, but thespians has positions for all those people and an opportunity for all those people to show off their talents, join interests, and learn from each other. When it comes down to it, there’s really not a lot of orgs on campus that put on events that are the scale and size that we do while allowing for the free flow of creativity during the process.
How did you decide to take on your role as Vocal Director?
I applied and interviewed for the position, and I’ve been the Vocal Director for three years now. I love the fact that I can tap into the mind of each character of the show. As vocal director, you get to play every part. For example, I get to put myself in the mindset of a female character that I will never be able to play, and I get to give advice to the actress even though I don’t have experience with that type of role. As a vocal director, you need to know what the characters are saying, who they’re interacting with, and what the value is in every word in every song. Also, I have to say that sitting in on auditions is a really exciting environment to be in. Hearing everyone’s opinions on who to cast and then being able to sit down and teach them the music…it’s great.
How does your work with Thespians give you the opportunity to use your gifts and passions?
Thespians provide such an enriching and creative environment for all members to work together to put on a show. I’m able to do something I’m passionate about with people who are so talented at what they do. It’s the perfect opportunity for self-expression and creativeness.
Why do you think your organization makes a difference in this world?
The arts are important, it’s as simple as that. We need the arts – if we don’t have them, what’s the point? Technological advancements make life easier for us so we can have more time for entertainment. We need love and passion and creativity and entertainment to survive and enjoy life. Without the arts, we would all die miserable.
Anything to say for students who might want to join this club?
You don’t have to be musical to be talented. There are a lot of different ways to get involved in a club like thespians, and if nothing else, you should join because there are really a lot of awesome people in this organization.