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Student Testimonial: Viterbo University

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Rachel Munoz - Viterbo University Theatre & Music Theatre Department

Why did you choose to attend Viterbo University and why did you select this major?

I originally planned on becoming an architect. But as graduation approached, I couldn’t accept that my last performance ever was coming up. I knew I would always regret not trying for a career in theatre. Once I started auditioning, seeing classes, and attending collegiate theater, I knew I couldn’t do anything else.

I decided on Viterbo when I was at a college fair. While papers, folders, and merch were being shoved into my hands, the Viterbo team was the only one that asked me what I actually wanted in my education. At Viterbo, I could choose things that I wanted to study beyond the courses required for my major. The professors have the time to know you as a student, as a person, and as an artist. Soon it was days packed with learning, rehearsal, study and more rehearsal.

What was a typical day like?

A typical day might look like this:

  • Dance class in the morning, followed by a voice lesson or an Arts Administration class.
  • If I had time, I’d schedule rehearsal time with my scene partners.
  • Then I’d grab an Einstein’s bagel or munch on my packed lunch before choir.
  • Next, I’d take the elevator from the 4th floor to the lower level for acting classes in the black box theatre.
  • Then I would have Theatre History and Literature class and end my afternoon with Acting Studio or Platinum Edition rehearsals.
  • Finally, I’d make time to eat dinner with friends and take a breath before starting rehearsal in the evening.

What was the most memorable moment of your time at Viterbo?

Of course, actually making theatre together was the most rewarding part of my time at Viterbo. One of the most memorable moments came while I was directing a one-act with some underclassmen. I remember sitting in the booth, mouthing the lines we’d worked so hard on. The laughing audience couldn’t get enough of it, and the actors began to feed off the energy, creating more fabulous moments. I’ve been an actor and an audience member but sitting in the director’s seat for the first time made me fall in love with theater all over again.

What did you hope to get out of the program, and did you achieve it?

I wanted three things out of my college studies.

  1. A deep understanding of strengths and weaknesses: Oh man, this one was the most challenging to experience because acting is such a personal craft. Luckily, the people around me never let me off the hook, so I was able to push myself every day.
  2. Dissection of craft: I’ve been challenged to explore a variety of methods, reflect on my own processes, and carve out my own understanding of character-building and storytelling.
  3. A strong network after graduation: My agent is actually a Viterbo graduate who is connecting me not only with people in New York but also with people within the market I’m heading to first, in Washington, D.C.

What advice do you have for teens looking for the right college?

When it comes to choosing where you’ll study, pay attention to how college recruitment talks to you. If you’re going to be just a number in a sea of other numbers, it’s incredibly difficult to explore who you are as an artist and make progress. When you graduate, having your own artistry is way more important in this industry than becoming a cookie cutter actor to dress up a set.

If I had any further advice for students preparing to major in theatre, it would be two things: Pursue some music study if you can. I wasn’t a music theatre major, but there’s so much music in theatre. Also: Read plays. You can never, never, never read enough plays when you’re an actor, so start now!