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Welcome to our PYP Class of 2021

Creative Artist Benefit Showcase!

We are so proud to showcase the work of 17 members of our graduating PYP College Audition Prep Class of 2021 who decided to join artistic forces post-college audition season this year and collaborate on creative showcase projects sparked by their individual and collective creativity. As they envision their own artistic future ahead in college and the future of the arts industry post-pandemic, many of the showcase offerings are brand new works presented for the first time in this space, explorations and expressions of new beginnings, and creative collaborations with student artists who are exploring their directing and writing interests for the first time. These artists have been encouraged to “wear many hats” and we couldn't be prouder of the work they have to share.

 

As part of their vision to create art that will benefit the future of the arts industry that they hope to graduate into after college, they have selected the non-profit Broadway Advocacy Coalition as the organization that is most aligned with their collective hopes for the future of Broadway and beyond. Emboldened by their mission to build a more inclusive, more equitable, more accountable industry, they have selected this non-profit to donate all proceeds from this showcase. 

 

Learn more about Broadway Advocacy Coalition and our student creative artists below. Please enjoy their creative showcase and consider making a donation to an organization that dares and inspires us all to engage as active members of a movement that will change the landscape of the arts industry as it re-opens and beyond. 

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All proceeds will be donated to 

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Spotlight on

Broadway Advocacy Coalition

Building the capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities to dismantle the systems that perpetuate racism through the power of storytelling and the leadership of people directly affected.

Founded in 2016 by members of the Broadway community as a direct response to the nation's pandemic of racism and police brutality, Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) has since grown into a multi-disciplinary organization uniting artists with legal experts and community leaders to have a lasting impact on policy issues including criminal justice reform, education equity, and liberation within the theatrical industry.

Broadway Advocacy Coalition is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

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Please Consider Making a Donation to BAC

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Meet our PYP Class of 2021 Creative Artists

Isabella Maria Acuña

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Oklahoma City, OK

High School: Classen School of Advanced Studies

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Attending Boston University’s Summer Theatre Institute and exploring movement/my relationship with my physical being. The experience to learn how to devise work at BUSTI and meet amazing artists was incredible. Also playing Logainne Schwartz&Grubenniere in 25th Annual Spelling Bee will always be one of my all-time favorite roles and artistic environments

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Greta Gerwig always! Florence Pugh, Annie Baker, Chella Man, Stanley Tucci, Patina Miller, Santana from Glee haha

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

My absolute dream is to write and direct an experimental play following my relationship with Mexican ethnicity and the human experience on an Off-Broadway stage. (I’d also love to play a character in said future play, but I may be spreading myself too thin there) 

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

The ability to see friends and make social plans without any plan beforehand, and big events where I get to move and feel free, like concerts or yoga studio classes.

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

How to channel empathy for myself and others into my art

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Unapologetically follow what YOU want your life to be, and don’t back down on your beliefs for anybody

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

The demolition of racial and sexual discrimination/barriers in the arts

Alexandra Asmuth

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Madison, Wisconsin

High School: Madison Country Day School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Babe (Pajama Game) and the Witch (Into the Woods) and directed/music-directed productions at her school. Other favorite artistic experiences include summer programs at Artsbridge and OCU, performing in professional shows in the Madison area, and being a 2021 Jerry Awards finalist.

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

The storytelling in Taylor Swift's music, Rachel Bloom's artistic agency and comedic brilliance, Karen Olivo's fearless artistic activism, and the hard work and compassion her family and close friends display every day

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration: 

Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Jo March in Little Women, and creating an original role in a new musical

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic: 

During the pandemic, she missed seeing people every day (she's such an extrovert)! 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

To discover more of what makes her unique as an artist.

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Alexandra would advise future artists to not let other's opinions about their art define them, that they have the agency to decide what feedback is valuable for their own personal growth.

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

She hopes that as the theatre industry reopens following the pandemic, it becomes a safer and more equitable place for all, where artistic possibilities are endless!

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Mikaela Bonilla

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Tulsa, Oklahoma

High School: Thomas Edison Preparatory High School 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences: 

One of my favorite roles I’ve gotten to play has to be Wednesday Addams In Addams Family The Musical. I performed in this show my Sophomore year with my school’s theatre company. This role got me nominated for Best Actress in Oklahoma’s Inaugural Discovery Awards. The whole experience of playing Wednesday is definitely one of my favorite memories! My favorite artistic experiences overall has been my time at Quartz Mountain Arts Institute in Oklahoma. The training I have received there over these past two summers is something I haven’t found elsewhere. 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations: 

My biggest inspirations at the moment are Anna Kendrick, Sutton Foster,  Carey Mulligan. They are all such inspiring women with amazing talent! I find most of my other inspiration in reading plays and collaging. 

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration: 

My dream role is definitely Jenna in Waitress, or Cathy in The Last Five Years. In Television, I’d love to be a recurring cast member of Saturday Night Live, and in a dream world I would have a songwriting session with Taylor Swift and Mitski. I want to do it all!

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic: 

I have of course missed performing overall during the pandemic, but I have been grateful enough to have some virtual and Covid safe acting opportunities. Other than the arts, I’ve missed my friends and family more than anything, and the normalcy of my senior year!

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience: 

From my college experience, I hope to learn how to wholeheartedly embrace my art and passion in the highest confidence. I am beyond excited for the self discovery I will find in my training!

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists: 

One piece of advice I can give to future artists is that you have to be your biggest supporter in order to thrive. Believing in yourself is the biggest and hardest step in this journey, but once you have that you can fully achieve your goals and find your right path!!

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future: 

I love to see how much the Industry has grown and changed over time. I hope this progression continues, so we can always have an ever-growing , supportive creative space for ALL creators. The Arts industry to me is one of the biggest platforms in bringing awareness to everything in our world, and I’d love to see it continue to challenge all ideas and portrayals of life!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Hometown/State: Sarasota, Florida

 

High School: Booker High School

 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

My favorite artistic experiences have been the productions I have created myself. I had the honor of creating my own solo play about the struggles of relationships and self-love as a teenage girl entitled “Chubby Little Half-Jew Meets Skinny Little Italian Boy” performed for the Sarasolo Cabaret Festival. I found this experience so rewarding artistically and personally, for it gave me the opportunity to reflect on who I am as a woman in this blip in time. Most recently, I created a devised piece with my senior high school theatre class titled “Light or the Lack Thereof.” The showcase was completely led my peers and I. We were challenged to write, direct, and tech the show without supervision, and while it was incredibly difficult learning to work collaboratively with such limited time and maximum stress, I found the experience to be exhilarating. I hope to continue to work on projects such as these in the future.

 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

I have always been inspired by powerful women of the arts like Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and Greta Gerwig. What these three powerhouses all have in common is that they created their own success without letting rejection stop them. I hope to have at least a sliver of their gumption in my career one day and possibly even inspire other women to take charge of their life. 

 

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

I like to think that my dream role hasn’t been created yet. This might be an answer that dodges the question slightly but it is true. The best roles for me are the ones that I am currently unaware of and have yet to create, but someday I will breathe life into them and I will know that it was the dream role I was looking for. 

 

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

I have missed performing without a full live audience. As a performer, your third scene partner is the audience and without their shared energy and love the quality of the experience lacks. 

 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to learn how to be a real human being. I believe that rarely very few people on this planet know how to be people and I would love to get a taste of what it feels like to be a person. 

 

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Please for the love of God appreciate yourself. Through the college selection process and the arts industry in general, it is so easy to get caught up in the mechanics of these artistic machines. Remember that the artist defines the machine; the machine does not define the artist. In non-metaphorical terms, you are the industry, the industry is not you. Learn to accept your rejections as celebrations because that means you are one step closer to finding where you will end up. Appreciate your wins because those amazing moments is what makes all of this craziness worth it. 

 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future: 

I hope that the arts industry continues to address the lack of diversity in the past and present and is proactive in fixing their wrongs. Representation is so incredibly important in the artistic field and I am glad that that fact is being recognized as of late and I hope the momentum continues to propel us forward into a more diverse artistic community. 

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Kaity Cairo

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Michele Cohen

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Waldwick, New Jersey

High School: Waldwick High School 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Playing Marian the Librarian in the Music Man, Playing Hope Cladwell in Urinetown, Playing Veronica Sawyer in Heathers, choreographing for my high school drama club, and taking part in the OCU Summer Music Program

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

My family/friends, art/other artists, and my teacher Susan McBrayer

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

My dream project is to work on a production of Little Shop of Horrors

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Large gatherings and the sense of community that comes with them 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to learn how to become a better collaborator and better my knowledge in different aspects of theater that are off of the stage

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Other people’s successes are not your failures

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

One hope I have for the Arts Industry of the Future is that it will it continue to better itself in order to be the most accepting and inclusive place for all artists.

Drake Daboul

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Sint Maarten

High School: Learning Unlimited Preparatory School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Anna in Frozen

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

My mother, Nicole Kidman, Ellen Pompeo

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Velma Kelly in Chicago

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Performing live in front of a great audience

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

Everything!

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists: Never give up and work hard to get where you want to go. You control your own future.

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

Inclusivity

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Rachael DeBoer

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

Hometown/State: Jensen Beach, Florida 

High School: Jensen Beach High School 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Jean Fordham in August Osage County and New Girl in an original show called Speak Life the Musical 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations: 

Amy Poehler, Emma Stone, Steve Carrell, Bill Hader, and so so many others. Other than icons, I find a lot of inspiration in other mediums of art such as paintings, photographs, and music. 

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

My dream role is Jo March in Little Women. A dream project of mine is to create and star in a tv show or film that is a comedy but addresses social issues. I also love mockumentaries, so making one of those would be thrilling as well!

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

I have missed doing my final senior show with my drama department at my high school. I have also missed the opportunity to be performing with my actor’s guild where we would do improv shows and create our own showcase performances. 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to learn a lot more about myself as an artist and especially more about my artistic voice through multiple mediums, such as writing and directing.

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

I know it is said over again, but follow your dreams! You only have one life so make it worthwhile! Show the world that you have a voice and you have the drive to showcase that voice! Oops, that was three...sorry.

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope to continue seeing diverse stories from all the diverse communities that make up this world.

Elena Dollinger

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Atlanta, Georgia

High School: North Springs High School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Elsa (Frozen Jr.), Alice Beineke (The Addams Family), Rapunzel (Into The Woods) Also, I loved going to OCU’s summer music program!

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Natalie Weiss, Sara Bareilles

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

To be on one of Joey Contreras’ albums or to open for Sara Bareilles in concert! I also would love to originate a role professionally!

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Being able to perform in front of my family and friends. I really miss performing and singing for people, but have loved doing virtual showcases and adapting to this crazy time!

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to focus more on musicality. I want to dive deeper into music theory and sight singing. I also hope to just live in the moment and take risks!

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of artists:

To stay focused and prepared, but also to have fun with any artistic experience. I believe that whether it’s going through the stressful college audition process or dealing with long rehearsal hours, something inside of you should enjoy these somewhat tiring times because you’re doing what you love, which is theatre! Trust your gut! Don’t force yourself to be like anybody other than yourself.

 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope that the arts industry will become/STAY diverse. Change needs to happen and I want to be involved in creating safe spaces for ALL artists. I hope that the industry and the people in it will stay positive and persevere through this tough time! We got this!

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Greta Haverstick

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Chester Springs Pennsylvania

High School: The Hill School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Tracy Turnblad

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

My family, Allison Janney, Bo Burnham, John Mulaney, Katie Munshaw, and many more!

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Dream project would be to write, direct, and act in a movie.

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to learn more about how to fully embody a character, and become even more connected to pieces I am working on.

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

"Il meglio è l'inimico del bene"

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope that the industry in the future has made great strides in not only casting in a more diverse way, but allowing for all different types of people to share their stories, resulting in overall more dynamic, interesting, and representative pieces of art.

Reed Hickerson

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hometown/State: St. Charles Illinois

High School: St. Charles North

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and The Baker in our unfortunately cancelled production of Into the Woods

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Leslie Odom Jr., Andrew Scott

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Being a part of a production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, with the dream role being Pierre.

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Being able to go through school events one last time as a senior and making the most of it.

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I'd like to expand my knowledge of theatre to cover every aspect of it, not just acting.

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

To take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about art.

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

For audiences to be exposed to different types of storytelling much more often; meaning different voices being shown, unique types of music being used in musicals, etc.

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Lucia Iurino

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

Hometown/State: Tucson AZ 

High School: The Gregory School 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Some of my favorite roles have been Ms. Honey in Matilda, Irene in Badger, and Clea in Black Comedy, but my favorite artistic experience so far has been doing a short scene from Waiting for Godot as Didi opposite my friend Karen. 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

I am inspired by the wonderful work of Dave Malloy, Anaïs Mitchell, and William Shakespeare.

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Candide in the Bernstein operetta, but make it a pants role.

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Hugs.

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience

I hope to learn how to make the perfect cup of tea. 

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Buy at least two more boxes of ginger tea than you think you need, heck even add a third in the winter months. 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future: 

More swashbuckling.

Rowan Lovering

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Eugene, Oregon

High School: Churchill High School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

My favorite show I've ever done was Legally Blonde. It was the first time I had been cast in a show where I would be working with adults and I just really enjoyed performing that show. 

Who/What are some of your inspirations?:

One of my inspirations is another performer from my hometown. I did a lot of productions with her when I was a young kid and I was always just in awe of the way she performed. She was definitely a huge inspiration for me to pursue performing. 

What is your dream role, collaboration, project?:

I would love to play The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods or Elsa in Frozen. 

What have I missed the most during the pandemic?:

I have really missed performing with people. There's just something really special that comes when people perform together in person. I miss that energy and I can't wait until I can perform with people again. 

1 thing I hope to learn during my college experience?:

I hope to learn more about directing in college as well as different styles of dances. 

1 piece of advice I would like to share with the next generation of artists?:

I would tell the next generation of artists to not lock themselves into just one lane when it comes to college. The biggest thing I've learned throughout this process is to let yourself explore what you really want to learn and do and then build your college around that. 

I hope/dream I have for the arts industry of the future:

I would hope to see a more inclusive arts industry in the future. I know that we have made a lot of progress in the past few years, but there is still a long way to go and I'm excited to continue to watch inclusivity increase in the arts industry. 

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Tyler Palma

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hometown/State: Floral Park, New York

High School: Floral Park Memorial

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Moritz-: Spring AwakeningSheridan Whiteside: Man Who Came to Dinner

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Jack Nicholson, Mac Demarco

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Judas- Jesus Christ Superstar, Marc Antony- Caesar

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Performing!

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope to learn how to truly relate to a character, to really get inside another persons’ mind and make it my own.

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

You will never “learn how to act”. Nobody does. Every show you do is another step in this great experiment of an industry. To me that's the exciting part, because you get to keep going and never get tired of it.

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope it maintains throughout this change in society/technology. Live theatre is such an important part of human culture, and should be continued throughout whatever progress we make!

Ahlanna Russell

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Utica, New York

High School: Thomas R. Proctor High School

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Deloris Van Cartier (Sister Act), Shakespeare (Something Rotten), Aunt Eller (Oklahoma) 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Audra McDonald and Cynthia Erivo

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

Sarah in Ragtime 

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

The live theatre experience. There’s nothing more exhilarating than a standing ovation, applause, and seeing the smiles in the audience. 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I hope I get to develop not only as a performer but as an individual. I want to work on my confidence and self love. 

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of artist:

Do not compare yourself to your classmates. It’s easier said than done, but seriously, it is damaging to your mental well-being and will only hurt you in the long run. Focus on your growth and your material. That’s what’s important :) 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope to originate a role on Broadway or do a national tour! 

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Mira Steuer

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown/State: Buffalo NY 

High School: Homeschooled 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

My favorite roles are small ones that allow me to create layers of character out of small clues from the text, and roles I write myself! 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

Greta Gerwig and Donna Tartt are some of my biggest icons.

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

To direct and act in a film that goes to Sundance is an ultimate dream goal. Theatre theatre and theatre (and museums). 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I can not wait to learn all the things I don’t even know I don’t know. 

Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

There’s no such thing as too young or too inexperienced. Don’t wait for permission, go make your art! 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope that the arts and specifically the entertainment industry will continue expanding on the representation that is shown on stage and screen. It’s long past time that people of color, queer and disabled folks, and everyone outside of “the norm” can see themselves reflected in the art they love. 

Lili Tarnopol

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Hometown/State: West Bloomfield, MI

 

High School: Frankel Academy

 

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

Wednesday in The Addams Family, Rona in Spelling Bee

 

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations: E

va Noblezada and Michelle Williams

 

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

I would love to build anything from the ground up. Also, Anais Mitchell could write the stupidest musical and I would still give my left leg to be a part of it. 

 

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Smiles

 

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

Self discipline

 

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

Make sure whatever stress you’re going through while working towards a goal never exceeds the happiness you’ll feel when you reach it. 

 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

hope that actors will be valued for what they specifically bring to the table. 

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Elizabeth Vichness

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Hometown/State: Annandale, Virginia 

High School: WT Woodson High School  

Favorite Roles and/or Artistic Experiences:

My favorite role I’ve ever played was the Wicked   Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.

Who/What Are Some of Your Inspirations:

My Mom! 

What is Your Dream Role, Project, or Collaboration:

My dream role is Nessa from Wicked, or Sonya from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.

 

What Have You Missed the Most During the Pandemic:

Talking about things that don’t involve the Pandemic :)   

1 Thing You Hope to Learn During Your College Experience:

I want to learn so much! However, if I had to choose one thing I would say that I hope to learn about dance. 

1 Piece of Advice You Would Like To Share with the Next Generation of Artists:

It might be a weird piece of advice, but I found it immensely useful: It’s ok to be ugly on stage.

 

1 Hope/Dream you Have for the Arts Industry of the Future:

I hope that in the future the Arts Industry is able to create a platform to share and tell the stories of all people, especially those who have historically been underrepresented in the community.