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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | Last updated: 6:56am

Life is much more than the stage for acting majors



With auditions and re-auditions for the Bachelor of Fine Arts theatre and musical theatre programs coming up, tensions are high for hopeful actors and actresses at the UA.

Ellie Halevi, a sophomore transfer student, is anxiously awaiting her musical theatre audition later this semester. Halevi has lots of experience in acting and musical theatre, but said that the UA audition process is still harrowing.

“I must prepare two contrasting excerpts from musical theater songs, show off vocal range and also show an understanding of the meaning of the song and context of the show. Finally, there is a list of monologues to choose from. The instructions say to prepare another monologue just in case. What this really means is, prepare another monologue, you have no choice,” Halevi said.

After all the blood, sweat and tears dedicated to preparing for the audition, many students still do not see their hard work rewarded. Students who do not do well in the BFA program audition are forced to make the difficult decision between changing their career goals or finding a different school at which to pursue their dreams.

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By Michelle A. Monroe and Michelle A. Monroe and Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat Myra Arundel, played by acting senior Michelle Luz, kisses David Bliss, played by acting senior Joe Hubbard, while his wife Judith Bliss, played by acting senior Megan Davis. Hay Fever opens on Oct. 12.

“It sounds odd, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it,” Haveli said. “Obviously I’ll need to choose between theatre or a new major, but since that is such a huge decision, I don’t think I can make a good judgment call until I am actually faced with the decision. For now, I am focusing all of my attention on my upcoming audition.”

Sophomore acting major Dillon Olmanson also knows the pressures of the BFA auditions. Olmanson is one of the lucky ones who passed not only his freshman audition but also his re-audition in his second semester. His freshman acting class had 23 students, and he was one of the talented 13 who passed the spring audition.

But his trials aren’t over yet, as he will have to audition one more time if he wants to stay in the program as a sophomore. With this third audition quickly approaching, Olmanson faces the risk of being cut from the program yet again, but he remains confident.

“I do not have an alternate career path chosen. I am very driven with my goals, and I will try to accomplish them regardless of if I have earned my BFA degree or not,” Olmanson said. “If I am not advanced into the junior class then I will obviously have to pursue another degree. Also, if you have not been advanced, then you are not allowed to try again.”

Senior musical theatre major Caitlin Stegemoller can also speak to the competitive nature of the BFA Program at the UA.

“A couple hundred people audition each year to get into the BFA, either acting or musical theatre, and there are usually 18-20 people admitted into the freshman class, which means about half will be acting, half musical theatre. There were seven musical theatre women admitted my freshman year. Still freaks me out that I managed to get in.”

These odds would be enough to make even the toughest pre-med student’s stomach turn. In the words of Halevi, “being a theatre major means living with rejection. You will not get cast in everything and training doesn’t guarantee you a job, but it’s really wonderful.”


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