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Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORD

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORD

Macy Medford's had a pretty remarkable time while studying at Belmont University. A graduate of Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas, she came to Nashville as part of the Class of 2019 of the school's renowned musical theatre program at Belmont, where she continues to grow as a performer, but perhaps more importantly as an individual with her sights firmly focused on the future.

An accomplished singer and songwriter - she released her first album when she was 14 - she's definitely a force to be reckoned with and with her next opening night (Friday, November 16) quickly approaching, Macy is deep in the rehearsal process to play Violet Hilton in Belmont University Musical Theatre's fall semester 2018 offering of the iconic Broadway musical Side Show, opposite classmate Arden Guice as Daisy Hilton. And on Monday, November 19, she joins her castmates to begin rehearsals for Studio Tenn's upcoming holiday season production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORDWe managed to convince Macy to sit down and consider our questions, making her today's subject of Collegiate Theatrics. Here's your opportunity to get to know her while she still has the time...

What has your college experience at Belmont University been like so far? It's been a wild ride - I can't believe I'm a senior already! It seems like only yesterday I was taking on the task of being props master for my first show at Belmont, and now I'm playing Violet Hilton in Side Show! My college experience has been wonderful, but definitely a lot of hard work as well. The workload is intense, as we are trying to fit as much as we can into a rigorous four-year track. We are always going nonstop: performing, rehearsing and studying all aspects of theatre. I can definitely say that we are being well prepared for the working world.

Has your time at Belmont lived up to its advance hype? Belmont has, in my opinion, exceeded the hype. I have been given incredible opportunities I never dreamed I would be given; for example, I recently got the opportunity to perform with Kristin Chenoweth at the Nashville Symphony and last year we performed with Sheryl Crow at Christmas at Belmont. We are also given multiple opportunities to attend, and sometimes perform in, Master Classes with some of the industry's best. Our alums are constantly booking gigs, getting great reviews and paving a pathway to success for our program. I auditioned for several college programs and can definitely say Belmont's audition process was the most rigorous: we sang multiple songs, performed monologues, brought our own dance audition, learned a new dance combination, and on top of all of that were tested on what we know about music and aural skills. They are incredibly intentional with who they let into the program, and a lot goes in to their decision-making process. I am so honored and proud to be a part of this program.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORD
As Grandma Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof

What's your favorite thing about studying at Belmont? I have many favorite things about studying at Belmont, one of which is how approachable the professors are and how close we become with them. Not only are they our teachers, but also they are our colleagues, peers and friends. They know their students individually, our strengths and weaknesses, and really care about helping us to improve. I also love that my classmates and I were trained in an environment where we support one another and are genuinely happy for each other's successes. Belmont's Musical Theatre program only selects a small number of applicants (my class only has 13 students) so we are very close and we know one another very well. Now, that doesn't mean that because we are friends our competition with each other isn't fierce. However, this friendship and competition helps us as performers because I think it is much easier to learn from one another when we aren't afraid to step out and be vulnerable. There is nothing like walking out on stage for Freshman Showcase and hearing the roars of support from the upperclassmen - it really makes you feel you are a part of something special.

What does the future hold for you and have your aspirations changed since you're now an experienced college student? As a college senior who is nearing graduation (eek!), I can safely say that I have no idea what the future after graduation holds for me at this current time. However, in a few months our senior class will be heading to New York City to perform our Senior Showcase, which will hopefully lead to some opportunities. I hope my future is filled with me constantly performing, meeting new people, traveling different places, and experiencing new things. In terms of my aspirations, they haven't necessarily changed, but instead my confidence in them has strengthened. Belmont has amazing alumni connections in the entertainment industry across the nation. Seeing Belmont alums constantly achieving great things has made me realize that my aspirations might actually be attainable, and they don't seem as impossible anymore. I always tell people my ultimate, somewhat crazy aspirations are what every musical theatre kid dreams of: Broadway, name in lights, the whole shebang. However, my main goal is to be able to live a happy, fulfilling life where hopefully I Will Able to make a living doing what I love.

Collegiate Theatrics: Belmont University's MACY MEDFORD
As Patty Simcox in Grease

What collegiate theatrical moment looms largest in your mind? There are so many incredible theatrical moments I have had, but the one that instantly popped into my mind when I read this question was getting to play Grandma Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. I know she's a character that isn't onstage for long, but getting to play Grandma Tzeitel changed the way I look at certain roles. At first, when I found out I was cast as Grandma Tzeitel, I was pretty surprised. In my mind, I look younger than I am and my performances have a very contemporary feel- not exactly what comes to mind when thinking of Grandma Tzeitel. I was extremely intimidated having never played anyone over the age of 30 and never having used what some might consider a "character voice"- honestly I wasn't sure I would be able to pull it off without looking like a caricature. I had to try new ways of walking and many different voices until I landed on the ones that felt right. I embarrassed myself multiple times in rehearsals while I was trying new things, but in the end, I was so proud of the character I had created. The process of finding whom I think Grandma Tzeitel is was instrumental in who I am as a performer now - it taught me that taking bold risks can have tremendous payoffs, and that it is important to constantly be pushing our boundaries as performers so that we can grow. Though I was only on stage for about a minute and a half, the process was such an incredible learning experience, and I learned that there really are no small roles- only small actors.

What advice would you offer to high school students considering making the plunge? I would say make sure you know how much time and work goes in to getting a fine arts degree! Fine arts degrees often have a stereotype for being "easy" majors and, let me tell you first hand, they are the exact opposite. Make sure that this is really your passion - if it is, the hard work will be so fulfilling once you get the results you have been striving for, and it will all be worth it tenfold. Then, if they decide to take the plunge to go to college for Musical Theatre, my next advice would be to go in to college with an open mind and allow yourself to make mistakes. This is the time to take risks, and it's also the time to fail. College is the time to find what makes you unique, what your quirks are, and to realize that sometimes the things that you least like about yourself, or that you consider your weaknesses, can actually make you the most marketable as a performer.

What's your latest theatrical project and what comes next? My latest theatrical project is getting to play Violet Hilton alongside Arden Guice as Daisy in Belmont University's production of Side Show! The music is astonishing, the story is enthralling, and getting to work alongside my best friends (one of them I am literally connected to the entire time!) has made this one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It has proved to be challenging, not only learning to move with another human attached to me, but also to understand the lives of these ladies, as being conjoined is not something many people can say they are or have ever been. However, the struggle to move and the immense depth of the characters make this an even more rewarding and magical show, and I could not have asked for a better show to get to be in my senior year. Literally the day after Side Show closes, I will begin rehearsals for Studio Tenn's production of Beauty and the Beast! Working with the beautiful people of Studio Tenn in Grease as Patty Simcox this past May was one of the best times of my life and was my first professional musical. I am thrilled to get to work with them again!

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