Meet the Musical Theatre Incoming Class of 2019!

These thirteen amazing individuals are reay to embark on four unforgetable years at PSU!

FRESHMEN BIOS

Jack Bowman

JACK BOWMAN is from Westport, Connecticut. After seeing the movie Billy Elliot, he started taking dance lessons and quickly getting involved in theatre. He had to make a choice between baseball and theatre. Thankfully, he went with theatre. “At my audition for Penn State, the students and faculty couldn't have been warmer. This ability to maintain kindness while being professional is what drew me to Penn State.” Not to mention its incredible size and football (WE ARE!). Favorite performances include the dark and lingering Emcee in Cabaret, Baby John in West Side Story, Mark in A Chorus Line, Rod in Avenue Q, Tobias in Sweeny Todd, and Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He can't wait to start studying musical theatre at Penn State!

Olivia Dei CicchiOLIVIA DEI CICCHI is from West Palm Beach, Florida. Playbill's review of one of her performances calls her “a young Patti LuPone in the making.” Since then, she has gone on to do countless things in the theatre, such as being deemed a YoungArts 2014 Finalist in Music Theatre, singing with Seth Rudetsky and Mandy Gonsales, and being featured on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio's On Broadway. She is thrilled to begin her journey in Penn State’s MT program.

Thomas DoelgerTHOMAS DOELGER is thrilled to be joining the Penn State MT family this fall! Thomas is a transfer student, having studied acting at Emerson College last year. He made the decision to come to Penn State based on the University’s impeccable training in music, acting, and dance, as well as the real sense of family and support he felt from the program as a whole. Thomas is from West Hartford, Connecticut. He has been passionate about theatre his whole life and has been lucky enough to have played some of his dream roles, such as Gabe in Next to Normal, John Proctor in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and Tony in West Side Story this past summer. Thomas was also selected as a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, which gave him the opportunity to work on Bill T. Jones' original piece What is this Place?, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Thomas is extremely excited to learn and grow alongside such inspiring and driven people. He can't wait to continue his arts education at Penn State and see what being a proud Nittany Lion has in store for him!

Lauren EchausseLAUREN ECHAUSSE is beyond thankful and excited to be starting her musical theatre training at Penn State! Lauren is from Westfield, New Jersey, and has three brothers (one being a twin) who are all excited for Lauren to leave for college so they don't have to listen to her sing anymore. She loves strawberry-banana Starbursts and homemade chocolate chip cookies, and is known in her town for her amazing cake pops! Lauren has been in a multitude of shows, but some of her favorites include Legally Blonde (Elle Woods), Bat Boy, Bring it On (Skylar), and Urinetown, which earned her a Papermill Rising Star nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical as Little Sally. When Lauren isn't performing, you can usually find her impersonating different Saturday Night Live or YouTube characters—she does a mean Miranda Sings. Lauren can't wait to see what's in store over the next four years, and knows that it'll be an incredible learning experience. WE ARE! 

David FriedmanDAVID FRIEDMAN is ecstatic to be joining the Penn State family. David is from Tampa, Florida, and has been performing since the fourth grade alongside his three sisters. He is a graduate of Howard W. Blake School of the Arts, where he was a theatre major. A few of his favorite credits include Reuven in The Chosen at American Stage Theatre Company, and Javert in Les Mis and Officer Lockstock in Urinetown at the Community School of the Arts. When not on stage, David enjoys watching baseball and Netflix.  He is looking forward to being part of the Penn State community while learning and growing as a performer alongside some of the most talented people in the country.

Katie GriffithKATIE GRIFFITH feels so honored to be joining the B.F.A Musical Theatre program at Penn State and can’t wait to be a part of the Nittany Lion family! Katie hails from Issaquah, Washington (a Seattle suburb bustling with Starbucks, soccer moms, and minivans), and has grown up loving all things music, dance, and theatre! Katie made her theatrical debut in a riveting performance as Street Urchin #4 in a youth production of Les Misérables at age 9 and has been hooked ever since! Since then, she has been fortunate enough to work professionally throughout Seattle’s theatre scene, and co-starred last year in the new musical The Tutor at Village Theatre as the punk-rock, love-stricken teen, Sweetie. She has an older brother, Michael, with whom she shares virtually no similarities other than an undying love for the family pup, Hobbes. She is so excited to be inspired by all the incredible people at Penn State and to independently do her own laundry. Katie couldn’t be more grateful that she walked into the Penn State audition room at L.A. Unifieds! WE ARE!

Graham HancockGRAHAM HANCOCK grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts, and was inspired at a young age by his older sister to pursue musical theatre. He has received training in acting, singing, and dancing at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts for the past eight years. He has also trained at the Broadway Artists Alliance in New York City. After visiting Penn State as a junior in high school and seeing the School of Theatre’s production of Guys & Dolls, Graham was convinced that this was the place for him. He has appeared in many productions throughout his high school years, playing roles such as Marius in Les Misérables, Fredrick in Pirates of Penzance, and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Kamryn HarrisKAMRYN HARRIS, known for her soulful savvy and melodic grace, is back in action like never before! Born and raised in San Diego, California, Kamryn is proud and excited to be a part of the Musical Theatre Class of 2019. To Kamryn, musical theatre is the beautiful combination of the things that she can’t stand to be without: music and theatre! Kamryn’s musical endeavors include performing in various showcases and competitions throughout Southern California and winning the YoungArts competition for Popular Voice. Her theatre journey has landed her in productions like No Child, The Hot Mikado, and The Wiz. Kamryn enjoys expressing her energetic and witty personality. She is eager to take on life as a Nittany Lion, and excited for the wonderful experiences that await her!

Jonathan HashmonayJONATHAN HASHMONAY was born and raised in Israel. His parents recently moved to Creskill, New Jersey. He just finished three years of service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Jonathan has been singing since he could remember, and majored in music in high school. One day a friend introduced him to The Book of Mormon soundtrack, and that was it, he fell in love. Currently, his favorite show is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. “The MT program at Penn State was high on my list as it is one of the best in the country. I can’t wait to get started, and to develop new friendships. I also hope to find partners to ski with during the winter (preferably every free minute we have).” 

Julio Iguina-PascualJULIO IGUINA-PASCUAL is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who most recently lived in Clarksville, Tennessee. Musical theatre became his passion after he did his first musical in third grade, Music Man Jr. Since then Julio has been training rigorously in acting, vocals, and dance. In his junior year of high school, Julio made his professional theatre debut at the Roxy Regional Theatre in its production of Les Misérables (Couferac) and also performed in its student production of Tarzan the Musical (Tarzan). For his senior year he homeschooled in order to perform in the Roxy’s production of On the Town (Ensemble/Dream Gabey) and also because he was asked to join a professional ballet company, the Nashville Ballet, for the 2014–15 season as a trainee. While training alongside professional dancers he was asked to perform in the company’s production of The Nutcracker. In mid-January he was offered a second-company contract to continue dancing with the Nashville Ballet but turned it down in order to further his musical theatre training at Penn State. For his 15th birthday, Julio got to see the Broadway tour of The Addams Family at the Kennedy Center, featuring Penn State alumnus Geo Seery. After the show he got to talk with Geo about which universities to look into for musical theatre. When Julio visited Penn State after his audition in New York City, he knew that he had found his home for the next four years. Julio cannot wait to get started and to be amongst incredibly talented students from all over the country. WE ARE!

Mikayla McKasyMIKAYLA MCKASY, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, chose Penn State because when she visited, she immediately felt at home. She is most excited to concentrate heavily on her passion, which is musical theatre, and to solely focus on creating a bright future for herself. She is proud that all of the hard work she has put into this has finally paid off and she is able to attend such an elite university. “You could have asked me two years ago and I never would have thought I would have come this far.” A couple years ago she went to see The Grinch at the Children’s Theater in Minnesota and the minute the first scene was over, she whispered to her mom, “I want to do that.” And that single moment was the beginning of her journey down this career path.

Amanda SilversteinAMANDA SILVERSTEIN is from Kensington, Maryland, and is beyond excited to be attending Penn State! As a former high school mascot, school spirit is one of her favorite things and one reason why she chose Penn State. Sadly, she cannot do one-armed push-ups, so being the Nittany Lion is not in her future. “One of my proudest moments was when Cary called me and offered me a spot in the class. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be attending one of the best musical theatre programs in the country.” She is most excited about meeting awesome people and making new friends. Some of her favorite shows include In the Heights, Fun Home, and Once. “The reason I decided to pursue musical theatre, besides the fact that I love it, is because I love to tell a story and transport the audience as soon as they walk in the theater. Not to mention getting to play roles totally unlike myself and doing crazy things on stage I would never do in real life.” 

Lena SkeeleLENA SKEELE from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, recently graduated from Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, where she studied theatre for two years. After a rigorous year of college auditions (ten to be exact) and lots of waiting, she finally found out that she was one of the lucky thirteen young adults to be accepted into the Penn State MT family! Choosing Penn State wasn’t that hard of a decision, considering how amazing the program is, and how at home she felt during her entire audition. Lena is incredibly excited to meet her Penn State MT ’19 classmates. Her favorite show is the musical Grease, in which she played the role of Sandy. This was the last show she performed at Walnut Hill, and the one that truly marked the start of her new journey here at Penn State. Being up on that stage made her realize how excited she was to be doing theatre for the rest of her life, and how excited she was to continue her training as a college student at such a prestigious program. 

 

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Address: Penn State School of Theatre, 116 Theatre Building, University Park, PA 16802 USA.

Office: (814) 865 7586

Fax: (814) 865 5754

Tickets: (814) 863 0255

Email: theatre@psu.edu

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