A Night In the Theater With Lacey Eriksen
Lacey Eriksen performed a musical theater recital right before her graduation in May 2016. Here is the story of how that performance came to be.
If you had asked me four years ago if I ever thought that I’d be giving a recital my senior year, I would have said no.
When I told my parents that I wanted to study theater in college they looked at me like I was crazy. I don’t blame them. Theater is one of the hardest fields to break into and be successful in.
Then when I told them that I wanted to attend LVC to study theater, they looked at me like I was even crazier than before. Having dreams of Broadway stardom and going to a small school that doesn’t have a theater department seems a bit unconventional, but choosing to go to LVC has allowed me to pursue everything I want, and has allowed me to become the performer I want to be.
Throughout my time at LVC I have taken a variety of courses that span all aspects of theater. I’ve had the opportunity to study dramaturgy and directing independently, and act as a teaching assistant for the English Department’s Theater Production course with Dr. Kevin Pry, associate professor of English, where I designed and built the set for “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” I’ve also had the opportunity to hold multiple positions and perform in numerous productions with the College’s Wig and Buckle Theater Company.
Getting to do all of these amazing things is a unique experience because, unlike a conservatory or arts school, I have done all these things while taking liberal arts courses at the same time. In almost all instances of my theatrical training, I have used something that I have learned in my liberal arts courses to supplement my performance. Because the theater concentration is so small within the English Department, almost all of my theatrical training has been individualized, which is more than what some students get at arts schools.
I’ve also taken hour-long voice lessons since my sophomore year. My vocal lessons were never really a part of my college plan. While I’ve always loved singing I never considered making it a part of my career plan. During my freshman year I was given a solo in the spring choir concert, and after it was finished my professor and adjunct instructor of music, Dr. Michael Wojdylak, told me that I had a good voice and that I should consider taking lessons with him. I decided to take a leap and began singing. Over the past two years, I have become more confident in my voice, and myself and have made my lessons a significant part of my academic learning.
At the beginning of every semester Dr. Wojdylak asks me what I want to accomplish in my lessons. In the past I had responded with “Sing one difficult song,” “Strengthen my belt,” or the ever popular, “I don’t know.” But this past September I came in and said, “Perform.” I was told that because priority goes to music majors that need to make a requirement it would be very difficult for me to secure a place to perform. I was also told that if I did secure a place, I would have to sing something outside of my repertoire.
Unwilling to take no for an answer, I said, “Why don’t I just plan my own recital?” Dr. Wojdylak agreed, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
With the arrival of Dr. Bethany Stiles, artist teacher of studio voice and musical theater, and the creation of a musical theater concentration in the Music Department, I have been able to make this coming night possible.
My recital will be an interdisciplinary culmination of everything I have learned in my theater courses and my vocal lessons throughout the past four years. The music I am performing will come from 11 different musicals including Funny Girl, Bridges of Madison County, Into The Woods, and Ragtime. Many of the songs I will perform have significant meaning to me and are pieces I have been working on for a long time.
My recital will include a duet with my fellow English/theater major Shannon Kane ’16, and a cameo from my dear friend and most recent scene partner, Connor Feeney ’16. Both Dr. Wojdylak and Dr. Stiles will accompany me.
I’m really excited that my recital is one of the last things I’m going do before I graduate in May. I think the experiences I have had throughout my college career, especially creating and preparing to perform my recital, has really captured what it is like to receive an education at LVC.
I’ve had the ability to shape my education, create my own unique experiences, and express myself how I want to. I’ve been able to work with faculty and staff who not only want me to succeed, but want to actively support me and help me succeed.
If you had asked me four years ago if I thought it was possible for me to make it on Broadway I would have said no. If you ask me now? The sky’s the limit.