Alumna Aveena Swayer Makes Some Beautiful Noise

Aveena Sawyer Headshot

Aveena Sawyer, Porthouse Theatre and School of Theatre and Dance alumna, has been performing on Broadway as "The Boat That I Row" soloist in “A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical.” Recently, Terri Kent, artistic director of Porthouse Theatre, musical theatre coordinator and professor of acting and musical theatre, along with Jennifer Korecki, associate professor of musical theatre, visited Aveena on Broadway. We caught up with Aveena to celebrate her milestone, “Seeing my name and face out on the marquee is simply my biggest dream come true. I will never forget this feeling of “I made it.”” She made her Broadway debut in “A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical” in December 2023.

“There is NOTHING better in the world than seeing your student succeed,” said Terri Kent, “I am both proud of Aveena and humbled that I have had a small role in her beautiful journey. I stood on the Broadway stage with Aveena and thought, “Wow!  You did it”.  I knew she would the day she auditioned for Kent State’s B.F.A. musical theatre program.”

Growing up in Orangeburg, New York, Aveena Sawyer started dancing at Coupé Dance Studio. She studied musical theatre at Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance, graduating with a B.F.A. in 2018. At Porthouse Theatre, Aveena played Dynamite and Lorraine in “Hairspray,” as well as, Nell in “Ain’t Misbehavin.” After graduation, she was on the national tour of “Something Rotten!” and Crystal in “Little Shop of Horrors” at Westside Theatre. Other credits include Candy in “Saturday Night Fever,” Wanda in “Beehive” and Tinselle Splade in “Kris Kringle.”

“My experience at Kent provided me with so much growth and time to learn about myself as an individual and an artist,” said Aveena, “I’ll never forget Terri Kent pulling me aside at the program auditions telling me that I needed to attend this school. And that’s all I needed, to feel seen in an industry I knew very little about at the time. From there, I was ready to soak it all in and left beyond grateful for the opportunities I was provided with. All the theater and dance professors at Kent gave me tools, knowledge and the time and space to explore who I was.”

Aveena provided some wise words for current students at the School of Theatre and Dance, “don’t compare your experience and success to the people’s around you. Every single person’s journey will look totally different. And you might hear that one a lot, but it’s so true. Just keep your head forward, keep pushing through the highs and especially the lows, and remind yourself that all you need is one “yes” in a sea of “no’s.””

POSTED: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 10:34 AM
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2024 02:59 PM