Kent State Theatre Alumni Give Students Advice
Kent State University theatre alumni came back to campus to give aspiring School of Theatre and Dance students advice about building a successful career and surviving life in New York City.
John Moauro, ’07, who starred in Hair; Laura Beth Wells, ’00, from Spiderman; and New York City Casting Director Michael Cassara were part of a special guest panelist event in the School of Theatre and Dance EZ Black Box Theatre. They provided advice to theatre and dance students about auditioning, dancing and singing.
Offering Insight to Students
The panelists gave tough criticism, but they encouraged students to never lose sight of who they are, while trying to be cast on Broadway. They also provided valuable résumé advice.
“It’s about being honest with yourself,” Moauro said. “Do your best, but you have to work hard. It takes dedication.”
Moauro explained to students that it is necessary to be completely fluent in every skill they put on their résumé. If they haven’t mastered a skill, he said, it is in their best interest to practice until they can perform it.
“In this business, it’s all about pushing yourself to be the most diverse performer you can be,” Moauro said.
In an industry where physical appearance is just as important as physical talent, tips for body image also were presented.
“It’s a hard truth; you are judged at first glance in the audition room,” Moauro said. “In this business, the way you look is important. Taking care of your body and staying fit is a necessity.”
Cassara told the student audience that there is no “wasted audition.” He said that when students go to New York there may be times when they don’t get cast in shows, but as long as they go into an audition and present their talent, it is likely they will be remembered for another audition.
Receiving Expert Advice
After listening to the veteran advice, Shamara Costa, sophomore musical theatre student, said that she found the event “terrifying, yet extremely informational.”
“It’s great that the School of Theatre and Dance invites professionals back to talk to us,” Costa said. “They have been out there and they know what it’s like. I feel like this truly benefits my education. Every piece of advice is valuable.”
Kaitlyn Sapp, sophomore musical theatre major, said that the panelist event was tremendous.
“It’s always helpful to know how we should approach our careers,” Sapp said.
Returning to Campus
Moauro said that he enjoys coming back to Kent State to give students advice because he remembers what it was like for him when he started out in show business.
“It’s fun and flattering to come back to Kent State and see the talent here,” Moauro said.
He went further to explain that he feels his education at Kent State has helped mold him into the successful performer he is today.
“The program at Kent State is small; therefore, professors focus on hands-on learning, as well as catering to the needs of the students,” Moauro said.
Bringing Successful Alumni Back
Eric Van Baars, musical theatre professor, said that when students see professionals who graduated from Kent State, it gives them hope for their future careers.
“While in school, students want to know that what they are being taught and how they are being trained is of a professional standard and will serve as preparation for an industry,” Van Baars said. “Hearing a working professional re-affirm what they are learning empowers the student to go further. Of course, knowledge is power, so advice from someone respected and knowledgeable will always be relevant.”