After four packed years, seniors in the Department of Performing Arts are saying their final goodbyes to the stage and their scene partners.
Senior Leela Rothenberg said she was lucky enough to be in every main stage production since the spring of her freshman year. Rothenberg said she is always excited about theater, which has impacted her entire life, and thrives on the adrenaline she gets during a performance.
Everyone in the department truly cares for one another and extends such a friendly hand to those who are new.
– Senior Anastasia Windeler
Rothenberg’s favorite production was last fall’s “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” because it was not only about love, but also senior year.
“I got to play Jeannie and it was a blast,” Rothenberg said. “All of my best friends were in the show as well, so it was a real bonding experience.”
Rothenberg said she is unsure of what she will do after college, and will make post-graduation plans once auditions start. But she hopes when she moves to New York City, she will have a better grasp on her future.
“A dream would be to eventually get on Broadway, but more importantly be happy in whatever I am doing,” Rothenberg said. “This business is hard to get into and stay in, so as long as I am doing something that makes me happy, it would be a dream.”
Senior Paige Carter said she also hopes to make it to Broadway, but as an equity stage manager. In the immediate future, Carter is headed to Las Vegas to perform with Cirque du Soleil’s “KA.” After she finishes her work with Cirque, she will start a year-long position with Olney Theatre Center in Washington, D.C.
“(I will) start working on gaining points toward becoming a member of (the Actors’ Equity Association), the union for stage managers and actors,” Carter said. “After that, I’m wide open. We’ll see where life takes me.”
Like Rothenberg, Carter said theater made her who she is today, because she was able to find herself and grow as a person. The theater at Elon is particularly full of energy, love and support for all of its members, she said.
“Everyone loves and cares about one another,” Carter said. “Because of my involvement with theater, I’ve learned to be overwhelmingly accepting of others and, most importantly, myself.”
Carter worked with the production and design side of the Department of Performing Arts, which allowed her to be involved with most of the shows at Elon. She was the stage manager for “Crimes of the Heart,” a Winter Term show, and rehearsed long hours for those three weeks. She said she became very close with Fred Rubeck, department chair, as well as the cast.
Senior Kristina Loeffke, a cast member in “Crimes of the Heart,” is a double major in BFA acting and BA theatrical design and production. She has also performed in “Jake’s Women,” “The Time of Your Life” and “Ajax,” while serving as the director, scenic designer and sound designer for many other productions. Because Loeffke has worked with so many shows, she has made many friendships with other students, she said.
Loeffke is currently exploring her post-Elon options in Atlanta and New York and has received offers to work on a few television shows.
“I am excited to explore that medium more,” Loeffke said. “I just want to make enough money doing what I love that I don’t have to have a survival job. ”
Senior Ben Morris has directed, produced and acted in many plays at Elon, ranging from the 24-hour play festival to “Macbeth.” He said he always looks forward to seeing who else will be in shows with him because it ranges from his best friends to people he doesn’t know.
“Through working on the show, I get to spend time with my best friends as well as get to know new people,” Morris said.
Morris will move to Chicago after graduation and take improvisational classes at Improv Olympic. He said his dream job is to continue improv while simultaneously working in theater.
Senior Anastasia Windeler has been involved with almost all of the dance productions during her four years at Elon, as well as some music theater shows.
“Elon provides such great opportunities for becoming engaged in the learning process,” Windeler said. “Not only are the opportunities there, but the people bring such a great environment. Everyone in the department truly cares for one another and extends such a friendly hand to those who are new.”
Windeler said she has enjoyed observing her growth with fellow students in the performing arts. Aside from a dance major, she is also majoring in international studies, and the performing arts have given her a balance in her life, she said.
“While academics are so important to me, there is something so elemental and connective in the performing arts,” Windeler said. “It has shown me that there is a deeper form of communication out there. The power of theater to make others think and feel is amazing, and I would never have realized the extent of that without my experiences at Elon.”