Ambitious student actors practice craft with hopes of future success

Jordan McEntee, Design editor

It was her first show.

The 6-year-old girl walked across the stage dressed as a clown.

Eleven years later, she took the stage as one of the lead roles in BV’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Madame de la Grande Bouche.

Performing since she was a little girl, junior Erin Moylan still loves the feeling of being in front of a crowd.

“There’s this thrill you get on stage in front of the audience,” she said. “People in theater just have it in their blood. They can’t not do a show. You might say ‘Oh, I’m not going to do this one,’ but somehow you always end up doing it.”

Moylan said theater takes a lot of time outside of school to be successful.

“For sports, there’s an off season, but in theater, there’s always more dance lessons or always another show you can do,” she said. “That’s just how it is.”

Moylan performed with seniors Sarah Bergeson and Lauren Flack and junior Alex Petersen in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels over Winter Break.

“It was this week-long process down at UMKC where we’d have rehearsals from nine in the morning to nine at night, then we had shows at the end of the week,” Moylan said.

Moylan said she plans to major in musical theater and see where that takes her.

“It took me a while to know that I want to keep doing theater as my future,” Moylan said. “But over the summer, I went to a six-week camp in Colorado called Perry-Mansfield. We stayed in cabins with no air conditioning and no phones or anything. Living that experience every day for six weeks, doing nothing but theater, made me realize that is what I want to be doing.”

Bergeson has also been acting since her childhood and plans on a future in the theater business, starting with majoring in musical theater.

Bergeson auditioned at nine different schools: Wichita State University, Oklahoma City University, Point Park University, University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, Pace University and Webster University.

“I don’t know exactly where I want to go,” Bergeson said. “But I spent all of January traveling around to each of the schools and auditioning — singing the same two songs over and over.”

Bergeson said she would love to continue on and become well-known in the theater business.

“I would love to work in the original cast of a new show,” she said. “It’d be awesome to have my name attached to it for life.”

Moylan said she would love to make a career for herself in the theater world.

“The big goal for every performer is to be on Broadway and make a name for themselves,” she said. “My goal is to just keep performing — it would be amazing to make a living off of it.”

Bergeson said the audition process, along with the entire theater experience, has taught her many important life lessons.

“You definitely learn patience,” she said.  “There’s so many times in rehearsal when they might not need you in that scene, and just all the time in between shows. You also learn to respect not just the other actors around, but the directors and also the audience. You just meet so many different people.”

Bergeson said she enjoys connecting with the crowd on a personal level.

“I love the feeling when the audience knows you, they believe in you as a character and really want you to succeed,” she said.

Moylan said being involved in several productions has made her more outgoing.

“I used to be super shy,” she said. “But through theater, I learned to open up and to be able to talk to anybody about anything. It’s definitely made me more confident.”

Moylan said every opportunity she has to perform makes her stronger and more comfortable.

“I believe that every time you’re on stage it makes you more confident,” she said. “Every time you work with new directors and a new cast, it’s an entirely different experience. There is so much to take away from it.”

Bergeson said theater is a great way to make lifelong friends while doing what she loves.

“For every show, I’ve met so many different directors and people in and out of school,” she said. “It’s like we’re all connected — these hundreds of people become a family, essentially. It’s never what it seems. The audience just sees two hours on stage, but there’s so much more than that. The show and the relationships never end.”