Eat, sleep, rehearse: A day in the lives of three actors

Megan Rozsa

Senior musical theatre major John Moauro screams at senior musical theatre major Kelly Meneer during the dress rehearsal of Hair in February.

Sam Twarek | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

The alarm goes off, but it’s not time to get up — not yet, at least. Snooze.

It’s ten minutes later, and the alarm gives it another try. He thinks about it but decides a second snooze is in his best interest.

Another 10 minutes pass and this time the alarm means business. He turns off the alarm and pulls himself out of bed.

Just another day, right?

John Moauro, a senior musical theater major, starts every day this way.

“Every night I go to bed thinking about all the stuff I have to do the next day,” Moauro said and laughed. “I always hit the alarm twice because I can never fall asleep.”

Moauro said he never has the same day twice. Each morning he wakes up and gives himself at least an hour to prep before he has to be anywhere.

“I give myself that hour to wake up and prepare my body for the day,” Moauro said. “I need to make sure my body is awake.”

All in a day’s work

His classes begin at 9:15 a.m. every day and end at 5 p.m. From there, he likes to go home and grab a bite to eat, if he has time for that.

“There’s a big rush before a show begins,” he said. “I go home and take a shower, eat and squeeze in some TV while I’m eating. I’m hooked on reality TV.”

When Moauro is in a show such as “Hair,” he rehearses each night from about 6 to 11 p.m., which doesn’t leave much time to do anything else, he said.

However, Moauro still finds time to be the president of the Musical Theatre Student Organization, vice president of Alpha Psi Omega and work at the box office.

But according to Moauro, this busy life is normal.

“I don’t have a lot of ‘me time,'” he said and smiled. “MySpace and Facebook are like my only ways of communicating with people of the outside world.”

According to Moauro, the hardest part of acting has been the critics, from the people he knows to the people he doesn’t.

“You want constructive criticism from people, but at the same time you’re always going to have what they said lingering in the back of your mind,” he said. “Just don’t listen to them. You have to keep your best interests in mind.”

Fitting everything in

For Amber Winstead, senior musical theatre major, the hardest lesson learned has been dealing with looks and ability in the acting industry.

“Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are,” she said. “If you look one way for a part, you’re going to get pigeon-holed. Everyone goes through physical acceptance in one way or the other.”

Winstead said she keeps up with her schoolwork by studying during rehearsals or partaking in cram sessions. She added that sometimes she didn’t get to bed until 5 a.m., only to get up and do it all again the next day.

“How busy I am depends on the semester and the course work,” she said. “Our LERs are kind of hard. We (actors) take dance classes intermixed with music classes and theatre classes, and in between those classes I do homework.”

Besides being in Kent all day, Winstead is also a commuter student. She drives 20 minutes to Kent each day from her home in Suffield.

“Before classes I try to squeeze in an hour of work at Target,” she said, “and I also work on the weekends. I had a job as a resident assistant last year and that just didn’t work with rehearsals.”

Winstead was also an actor in “Hair,” and she was there with Moauro from 6 to 11 p.m.

“I’m more of a night person, so I was up really late,” she said. “But I never go home unless classes and rehearsals are over.”

Junior musical theatre major Justin Gentry’s life is going in the direction Winstead’s was last semester when she was a resident assistant.

“Resident Services actually made it easy for me to deal with rehearsals and that job,” Gentry said. “They switch around my shifts and then I pick up one when I can. But I’d go crazy if I had another job.”

Gentry said he is in class from 9 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. and is lucky if he manages to grab a break.

As another cast member of “Hair,” Gentry was required to attend all rehearsals.

“The directors are lenient early on about you being at rehearsals,” he said. “But as it gets closer to show time, they become more strict about attendance.”

Gentry said his hardest struggle was time management.

“It’s (acting) like time management boot camp,” Gentry said. “Juggling all these things at once helps you really understand and see what makes you want this.”

New on the scene

Danny Lindenberger, a freshman musical theatre major, is new to Kent’s stages this semester. His latest role includes playing the lead in “The Diviners.”

He begins his mornings as early as 8 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. each day.

“I don’t get to bed until around 2 a.m.,” Lindenberger said. “Sleep is really important. I take it where I can get it because if I’m tired, it makes for poor rehearsals.”

Lindenberger said he is taking 19 credit hours this semester. During breaks he eats what he can and uses energy drinks to keep him running.

“The want to skip class is there,” he said, “but I have to go because if I don’t get good grades, I can’t act.”

Lindenberger said he doesn’t have a job this semester because he doesn’t know when he’d have time to work.

“They’d probably fire me,” he said and laughed. “I think it would be impossible to have a job right now.”

Looking ahead

Even though he has a while before graduation, Lindenberger would like to move to New York to act.

“Ideally I’d love to go to New York and get a job right off,” he said. “But it doesn’t always happen like that. I’ll probably be waiting tables while I wait. But there’s so many things I could do.”

Gentry said his plans for after graduation are as up in the air now as they are for people who are approaching graduation.

“I am interested in film, and I’d like to win an Oscar by the age of 30,” he said, laughing. “It’s just a matter of finding connections and the resources to uproot and move to somewhere like Los Angeles.”

Winstead said she hopes to move to New York and continue her education by taking more dance classes. She said she would eventually like to teach after she gave Broadway a shot.

“If it doesn’t work out, I gave it my best,” she said. “You have to make the best of it.”

Moauro said he already has plans for the coming summer. After graduation, he is moving to New York City and acting in “West Side Story” with a group called Summer Theatre.

“I just want to be able to support myself,” Moauro said. “You don’t have to be on Broadway to make it in this business.”

Reality check

Musical theatre majors all aspire to have acting jobs right out of college, just like students of any other major. Two Kent State alumni are making this dream come true.

Sarah Roussos is a 2005 Kent State graduate who is currently living in New York. She is acting in a national tour of the musical “Wonderful Town.”

“We travel all over the United States,” Roussos said. “It’s a great chance for us to meet people within the business.”

Roussos caught her big break while attending Kent. She was one of the members of the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Senior Showcase.

Each year, a group of senior musical theatre majors are chosen to be a part of this group that rehearses and then travels to New York City to perform in front of talent scouts and agents. This is where Roussos’ agent found her.

“The showcase really helped out and gave us good exposure to the business,” she said. “After graduating I moved to the city and started auditioning.”

Roussos said her toughest challenge has been auditioning against people who have been in the business for years. She auditioned for four months before she got her current job.

“You really have to be in the right place at the right time,” she said. “Be as prepared as you can and stay positive. I work as a bartender when I’m not in shows. It’s all baby steps.”

Nick Horton was also a member of the 2005 BFA Senior Showcase. He is also living in New York and just finished acting in an Asia tour of the musical “Grease.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work consistently in theatre,” Horton said. “I’ve been auditioning and acting the whole acting lifestyle with the occasional, random side job.”

Horton said Kent State has a great connection between teachers and students. The professors spend a lot of time with students to help them with things they are struggling with.

He added that he also had the opportunity to sit in on auditions, which improved his ability to spot things that are bad to do in auditions.

“An audition is not a be all end all,” he said. “The callbacks are where you want to give it your all. Don’t play all your cards in the auditions. Save some for the callbacks.”

Horton suggests having a working knowledge of just about everything. He encourages actors, but really everyone in general, to speak up when questions arise in a classroom setting.

This summer, Horton plans to go to Michigan to act in Barn Theatre, a summer theatre group. He will be in shows such as “The Producers” and “Cinderella.”

“If it’s what you love and what you want to do,” he said, “there’s nothing better.”

Contact performing arts reporter Megan Rozsa at [email protected].