Zachary Sneeringer – Staff writer
Opening night: A feeling from being a part of theatre that I have experienced oh so many times. From putting cake loads of makeup on my face before a performance and singing every single song from a musical, until we were sick of them after the performances, to making a mad dash when a new cast list was posted, theatre has been an influential part of my life. Its beautiful words and lyrics have helped me through some of the tougher times in my life and has reminded me to keep my head up.
Even during high school, I chose the quote “You can like the life you’re livin’, You can live the life you like,” from “Chicago the Musical” as my Senior quote. Musical theater has influenced me through three main ways: through the ability be an actor, through the ability to work on the technical side and through going to see productions in my local community.
In my 8 years of being involved in musical theatre, I have been able to enact a wide variety of characters. I have played characters that are unique, including Schroeder, the Beethoven loving Pianist from the musical, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown;” Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob who sings a Western theme song and struts in cowboy boots from the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat;” and Bottom, a flamboyant actor who gets turned into a donkey from the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Through each of these roles, I was able to immerse myself into different characters’ viewpoints, values and personalities.
Through the ability to act like others on stage, I gained an awareness of the thought processes of others and an understanding that it is okay for individuals to have different opinions on varying subjects. The ability to act also helped me to be confident in myself. I found acceptance for my bubbly and extroverted personality through my experiences with being on stage. A favorite quote of mine which resonates with me is from the musical, “La Cage Aux Folles,” which says, “Life’s not worth a damn ‘til you can say, “Hey world, I am what I am!””
Being a part of the technical side of theater has been a moving experience also. During the peak of my technical theatre career, I was involved in two main aspects: stage crew/set building and lighting design. When I helped build the sets for some of our productions, I felt like I was a part of something larger than myself. We were able to make whole scenes come to life with just ply wood and some paint.
Additionally, I had learned how sometimes the most important people in production are those who are never seen. We were the ones who changed scenes and moved set pieces during productions. As a lighting designer, I learned so much about how lighting can help to invoke emotion from the audience. I was moved and humbled when learning about this craft and took away so much, especially while working with a technical team.
When I came to Assumption and heard about the Hanover Theater, I immediately knew I wanted to be a season ticket holder. I bought two sets of season tickets and attended 6 Broadway caliber shows over the course of that year. My experiences viewing these shows have prompted me to renew that membership for four years running now. Having the ability to see the magic of the stage happen is a sensation like no other. It is so magical at times and reminds me of my youth.
Additionally, being able to share this experience with and spread the transformative ability of theatre to different individuals is so moving. I am able to get to know others and share with them one of my passions in life. Theatre has defined who I am and I will always find ways to make it a part of my life.
Zachary Sneeringer, a senior, studies Mathematics and Music. He is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.