COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University

The Gallatin, Tennessee, Native Found His Way to a Potential Theater Career Thanks to a Welcoming Professor

By: Nov. 29, 2023
COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University
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As a theater critic who has been covering the regional scene for more than 35 years, nothing is more gratifying that reviewing productions from local colleges and universities which affords me the opportunity to see young actors as they stretch their wings, show off their innate talents and, well, evolve. Watching these young actors learn and grow is exciting, no matter the roles in which they are cast, but when you see someone in a role for which they are perfectly suited it’s even better.

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University For several years, our work for has included columns under our Collegiate Theatrics banner, which allows us to introduce many of these young actors to wider audiences, letting us trumpet their achievements and recognize them for their talents.

We continue to celebrate the return of Collegiate Theatrics with an interview featuring one of our favorites from the theatre department at Middle Tennessee State University in nearby Murfreesboro: Logan Purcell, a native of Gallatin, Tennessee, who will be graduating in 2025. We know Logan from his onstage appearances in MTSU’s productions of Fun Home, Cabaret and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella in which his talents were on prominent display.

We’re happy to introduce you to Logan Purcell today and we look forward to showcasing some of our other favorites in the weeks and months to come.

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University
Logan Purcell in Sense & Sensibility

How did you first become involved in theater? I became involved in theater a lot later in life compared to others. I was introduced to theater in my freshman year of high school. I was a part of the choir my first semester because I grew up singing in the church and thought that it would be an easy credit to get out of the way. While in the class, my amazing teacher T.J. McLaughlin asked me if I would consider auditioning for the spring musical because they were always in need of guys. This comment was so foreign to me because I had never seen a musical or play in my life. All I did growing up was play sports. After some thought, I auditioned and was cast as Link Larkin in Hairspray! Ever since then, I have never wanted anything more than to perform for the rest of my life.

What led you to choose to attend MTSU? I originally did not choose to go to school for theatre! Even though I had a love and desire for performing, I was too scared to fully step into it. I started out as a Music Business major here at MTSU and decided that I would have a minor in Theatre. I arranged a meeting with Kristi Shamburger to discuss the minor and she invited to the majors’ meeting. While at the meeting, I felt the overwhelming emotion that I needed to switch majors. It was the best decision ever. I feel so lucky to have joined such an amazing department. I cannot imagine being anywhere else!

What's your college experience been like so far? Has it lived up to its hype? It has been amazing! Of course, there have been some hard semester here and there, but overall, I have loved it. I get to cultivate and hone my craft every day! I am constantly living in a world that I love -- the directors and faculty have helped push me to be my best! They are always there to listen and give advice. They have also helped me to explore my other interests in theatre, such as lighting design (Shout-out to Darren E. Levin!) These people have truly helped me improve so much! I am forever grateful.

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University
Logan Purcell in Rabbit Hole

What does the future hold for you and how have your goals and aspirations changed since your college experience started? I am lucky that I still have a year left at MTSU. Before I graduate in 2025, I plan to attend UPTAs and SETC so that I can audition in front of many theatre companies and hopefully land a job through that. I have already been lucky enough to attend SETC and to work with the Cumberland County Playhouse (Shout-out to Bryce McDonald and Britt Hancock). After that, I will hopefully be able to work at many theatre companies around the country. Like all theater kids, I would love to perform on Broadway or on a National Tour! One thing that I have recently developed an interest in is performing in London – I would love to live and perform on the West End. There is something about the culture that surrounds theater there that has been drawing my interest!

What collegiate theatrical experience has meant the most to you over the years? I think the show that has meant the most to me over the years here at MTSU is Sense & Sensibility, which was directed by the always phenomenal Lauren Shouse. I will say Rabbit Hole was a close second! Sense & Sensibility was the first play that I had ever been a part of (not to mention I was also having to learn a new accent). The process for this show was amazing – Lauren knows how to make a rehearsal process encouraging and safe. She also knows how to push her actors to the best of their ability. During this show, I was able to learn and flex some new acting muscles that I had never used. I was lucky enough to also work with Lauren on the musical Fun Home. Thank you, Lauren Shouse, for taking a chance on me!

COLLEGIATE THEATRICS: Logan Purcell of Middle Tennessee State University
Logan Purcell

What advice would you offer a high school student considering making the plunge and following your course of study at your school - or any other school, for that matter? Go for it! Don’t be scared or hesitant like I was! It is a wonderful community to be a part of. That’s not to say it is easy though. There are moments (like in every career) where you will question yourself, but those are the moments when you discover your true passion for theater.  I will also say that you have to work hard. You have to always be pushing yourself to be better. Lastly, I encourage you to make connections! That is a big part of the industry. Making good connections with people will always help you out in the end.

What is your next theatrical project? My next production at MTSU is Shakespeare's The Tempest directed by David Wilkerson (such and amazing teacher); it runs February 22-25. I will be playing the villainous Antonio! I am super excited for this role because I have never played the villain of a story. This is also my first Shakespeare show, so I am a little anxious, but I know it is going to be a blast. I have taken many classes with David and I know it is going to be a fun time! I hope everyone will consider joining us.

What comes next in your career trajectory? More learning! I know my journey of growing will never finish. I plan to take as many classes as possible in the next year to help me grow as an actor before being on my own. I then plan to audition and perform as long as I possibly can. I do think I will eventually go to graduate school at some point in my life (Maybe I will teach college when I am older, who knows?). Whatever I do in my life, I know that I want theater to be a part of it. I want to thank my parents for always supporting me in this life choice. Glory to God! Okay, forward to whatever the future may bring!


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