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BWW Blog: College Amidst Coronavirus with Broadway's Rachel Resheff

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Today’s guest and I both began our acting careers at the same children’s theater! Meet Rachel Resheff!

BWW Blog: College Amidst Coronavirus with Broadway's Rachel Resheff

Hello BroadwayWorld! My name is Kyle Morales, I am 22-years-old, and I am a current senior at Baruch College. I am majoring in Communications with a minor in Digital Media and Culture, and not only am I a student, but I am an actor as well. In my youth, I performed in several shows at Random Farms Kids' Theater in Elmsford, NY, and I recently booked an ensemble role in John McDaniel and Scott Logsdon's new musical Sticks and Stones.

Today's guest and I both began our acting careers at the same children's theater, but unlike other child actors who got their start there, Rachel has performed in five Broadway shows. Rachel cracked jokes with Larry David in his Broadway play Fish in the Dark, she stole hearts as Donna Murphy's granddaughter in The People in the Picture, she was practically perfect as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins, she electrified the stage as a Ballet Girl in Billy Elliot, and she sung alongside Sutton Foster as Young Fiona in Shrek The Musical.

Now, Rachel Resheff is a 20-year-old sophomore at Harvard University, where she is a tentative English major. She may minor in Theatre or History, but she is, "Not sure yet". When asked how she has adapted to taking courses online, Rachel shared," It's definitely a lot of staring at a screen all day, but it feels slightly more normal, unfortunately, than in the spring, which was a pretty jarring time. I feel lucky to have a way to focus my brain right now, but I am also very tired and maybe should sleep more. I've found that making a to-do list is really helpful, and I became one of those people who has a bullet journal".

At Harvard, where it pertains to performing arts events, "There are some things here and there", says Rachel, "But most of my performing arts stuff, at least right now, is outside of school. I work on a satirical late-night style show about Harvard with some of my friends, which has been a really great way to stay connected and also stay creative".

Rachel is only taking classes online. "Now that online is the new normal, there is a routine about it that feels similar. Other than that, [classes] are extremely different. I took for granted even those moments of accidently putting your water bottle too close to someone's notebook next to you, or having to squish through a lecture hall row to get a seat, or talking to other humans after class that you don't live with and only see once a week at the same time for a couple hours".

Rachel is living at home, and her plans have, "pretty much remained the same for the semester".

"One of the advantages of being in college this semester in particular is I feel like I'm growing in a time that is very much a life-pause otherwise. We're so far into the pandemic that I almost forget what real life is like and sometimes I have trouble imagining life after all of this, but being in school I can have moments where I feel excited about what I'm learning and what's to come. I'd say a disadvantage of being in college this semester might just be the consuming nature of it in a very high stakes and stressful time. There's something about Zoom school that feels a little never-ending, and I have trouble knowing where the week starts and ends. But all exhaustion and long Zoom silences aside, I'm happy I'm taking classes this semester" .

This semester, Rachel is taking a class called The Democracy Project, which is a U.S. History class taught by Jill Lepore, a class called Writing the TV Pilot, which is an English creative writing workshop, Astronomy 1, a Gen-Ed about COVID, and a songwriting class. "It's a good balance but a lot of work, and I haven't really figured out when to let myself relax yet".

This semester at Harvard, "The only students allowed on campus are freshmen and some other students who could not be at home and had to apply to live on campus. From what I know, there are a ton of guidelines in place and students take COVID tests multiple times per week".

When asked how Rachel has been surviving performance evaluations and exams, Rachel responded, "My Astronomy midterm is this week, so I guess we shall see! Last semester I only had essays to write, and this summer I took a Statistics class which only had take-home tests. This week's midterm will happen in real-time with our cameras on, so we'll see how that goes. I feel much more in the rhythm of school now and can push myself to focus, but it does feel like there aren't enough hours in the day, even if I am only staying in my house".

Rachel is a professional when it comes to balancing school with auditions. "Last year when I was in person I would come home for auditions a good amount. I said goodbye to people at home before I left and then I was back in NYC a week after I arrived at college. I would mostly do self tapes, but I didn't have classes on Fridays, so I would come in for callbacks or things of that nature pretty often. In the spring, I did a workshop of a new show, so I had to miss a couple weeks of school. It was a balancing act, but since I've balanced school and work since I was a kid, it wasn't too bad. This year, of course, there's a lot of uncertainty, and the auditions I get are self-tapes. There's something really scary about being in school during such a monstrous, life-altering time, but there's also a sense of comfort that comes with it, because I always have something to focus on".

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From This Author Student Blogger: Kyle Morales