As featured in the June 2023 newsletter
- Who are you and what significant contributions have you made to the organization?
I am a proud alumnus from the Class of 2022, a former Chappell Player, and a member of Alpha Psi Omega's Tree of Power. While a member of Chappell Players, I served on the Executive Board for 3 years in the positions of Secretary, President, and E-Board Assistant; I was also an avid Stage Manager and Lighting Team Member. During my time, I was the only SM to have Stage Managed, at one point or another, each of our season's 4 shows (Children's Show, Cabaret, Straight Show, and the Musical). I also earned the "Best Stage Manager Award" every year I was eligible.
I would say my most significant contributions were from my time on E-Board. My sophomore year, we did a massive overhaul of the constitution and collectively made 15 + changes to more accurately reflect how our organization ran *Shoutout to Parker Young, Angelica Cieslak, Kristin Camacho, Sheila Kiernan, and Ben Davis* We also started the "Class Representatives" initiative and I was the first Junior Representative. Aside from that, we created the Strike Policy which I believe is still in use. The following year, I led the group through COVID and an all-remote season. The year after I led them out of COVID. Overall, I did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to facilitate a smoother-running organization... but I won't bore you with all that.
- How was the transition from college to the real world? How was life after graduation? Did being involved in the Chappell Players prepare you for life after college? How so?
After graduating, I began working full-time as a Corporate Security Analyst for First Republic Bank. There was certainly some adjusting I had to do when entering the real world. I soon realized that my free time became almost nonexistent. I had to make a conscious effort to seek out and keep in my life the activities that inspire and excite me. I learned that it takes a lot more effort to keep up with your friends when you aren't seeing them every day. It's difficult transitioning from living on-campus with all your buddies to living a state away and only seeing them on weekends.
With that being said, Chappell Players did a lot to prepare me for my current job and life after college. For one thing, it taught me how to work with people and, as a security professional in the private sector, I work in the people industry. Theater made me a skillful communicator and collaborator. After years of working with many big personalities both on and off the stage, it was easy for me to navigate the many personalities found in my office. In the real world, it is important to be able to work with whoever walks through the door. Every day, I utilize my E-Board skills on the job to refine enterprise-wide policies & procedures, create forms & templates, and voice my ideas to higher-ups. The soft skills you learn here will get you very far. In fact, during the interview for my current position, I drew upon CPTG experiences to discuss examples of multitasking in high-pressure circumstances and calmly handling escalated situations.
- What is your favorite CPTG memory or performance?
My favorite Chappell Players memory occurred my freshmen year. During Spelling Bee, I was ALD under the creative genius of Joe Cantalupo. Anthony Starvaggi was the stage manager. I remember sitting behind Joe and Anthony who were seated at the tech table. Coming from a background in stage management, I remember watching Anthony and thinking 'Wow I want to do that one day'. Fast forward 6 months and it's the Children's Show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now, *I* am seated at the tech table with Joe Cantalupo next to me and Anthony Starvaggi is behind us as ALD. It was a very full circle moment even though my time with CPTG had only just begun.
Since its hard picking just one memory, here are my honorable mentions:
Producing Peter and the Starcatcher. The show was absolutely enchanting!
The Laramie Project (2020). Although it was a very difficult process for everyone since it occurred during COVID, I am extremely proud of the content we produced. We essentially made a full-length movie in less than 2 months... and boy did it turn out well!
Last but not least, every time I've had to go dumpster diving during strike has been a uniquely memorable and jovial experience. My first time was during Spelling Bee (2018) when we threw everything in the wrong dumpster...
- Have you been able to remain involved with theatre as much as you hoped/wanted?
Yes, I am as involved in theater as I had wanted to be but not in the way I would have most liked. I have dabbled in Set Design for AfterWorkTheater, a community theater based in the East Village and I currently work as an Administrative Assistant for Vanguard Theater Company, a professional theater based in Montclair, NJ. While I do enjoy Arts Administration, I would love to start stage managing again. Unfortunately, that is a very demanding role and I haven't found a way to fit it back into my schedule - however, I do have hope!
- Do you have any advice for Chappell Players going through college or those who have recently graduated?
My advice is:
Never make it awkward to walk into a room where someone else is present. If your actions are going to make it awkward for you to work with someone later, think twice before doing it. The theater community is small and there's no point in burning bridges without a good reason. In many cases, you'll be around the same people for the next 3 or 4 years.
Give yourself and others grace. No one is perfect.
While you are in school, learn to compartmentalize your relationships. You can be friends with someone both personally and professionally. Being able to separate the two relationships is a valuable skill. Don't take personally what they did professionally.
The effort you put into the organization is what you will get out of it. If you want to learn more, ask.
Don't burn yourself out. There will always be another show. If you need a break, take one. You'll enjoy the next show so much more if you recharge.