In high school, if there was a show coming up, whether a musical, play, dance show, or choir concert, chances are, I was a part of it. So, I placed a great deal of emphasis on performing arts in my college decision. In April of 2011, it was decision time: would I choose the small college with the well-known performing arts program that I had auditioned for and fallen in love with? Or would I choose Saint Joseph’s University, a school that I had managed to fall in love with without even setting foot inside its theatre?
I took a chance. I chose SJU based on the community atmosphere that I experienced on my campus tour, and because I felt that it would be the best place for me to live and grow for four years, not just as a performer, but as a whole person. What’s funny is, although I did not see the inside of Bluett Theatre until my Freshman Summer Orientation, it has become an integral part of my college experience.
When I was cast in Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” in the fall of my freshman year, I was so excited to incorporate one of my biggest passions into my new life on Hawk Hill. Throughout rehearsals, the cast became my family – I even met one of my best friends and now roommate! My experience with “Is He Dead?” led to several other exciting opportunities. My director, Dr. Laura Pattillo, encouraged me to apply for the Frank Olley Memorial Theatre Scholarship, and this year, I have taken on an Executive Board position as Personnel Manager, which means that I am in charge of ticket sales for the theatre company.
As a theatre minor, I have had the opportunity to take several fun, unique classes taught by Renee Dobson, the artistic director of the SJU Theatre Company. In Directing for the Stage, my final exam was directing other students in my class in a one-act play. After that, I went on to direct another short play for our new student-run theatre company’s first ever night of scenes! My Musical Theatre History and Performance class featured bi-weekly mock auditions, and a class with a Broadway choreographer.
The SJU Theatre Company puts on three mainstage productions each academic year: two musicals and a straight play. One of my favorite things about our Theatre Company is that you do not have to be a theatre major or minor in order to be cast or involved in any of our productions! The SJU Theatre Company is somewhat small when compared to the performing arts programs of other universities, but to say that it is “mighty” is an understatement. I feel blessed to be following one of my passions alongside and under the direction of such talented, hardworking people. I am thrilled to be in rehearsals for my first musical with the SJU Theatre Company, “Guys and Dolls,” which runs April 10, 11, 12, 25, and 26 at 8pm, and April 27 at 2pm. Hope to see you there!
Ange Rocco is a junior psychology major and theatre minor from Neptune, New Jersey. She is a Hawk Host for the SJU Office of Undergraduate Admissions, a Red Shirt, a member of SJU’s only women’s A Capella group, City Belles, and serves on the Executive Board of the SJU Theatre Company.