Alumni Spotlight - Laura Matey

Where are you from/why did you choose Penn State?
I hail from the great state of Pennsylvania, of course! I grew up in Drexel Hill, a suburb just west of Philadelphia. As a high school senior, I was looking at Theatre BA programs so that I could get a liberal arts education but also be engrossed in a fantastic theatre department. I wanted the flexibility of the BA program so that I could take acting classes but also have the chance to dabble in all aspects of theatre. I loved Penn State because it had such a tight knit-family feeling within the School of Theatre and yet a constant reminder that you are a part of the Penn State community at large.  I knew within the first week of getting there that I was in the right place and in the right program.

A photo of theatre alum, Laura Matey
(At the Stephen Sondheim Award Gala with EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winning orchestrator, Jonathan Tunick)

What's one unforgettable memory you have from your time at school? 
It’s very safe to say that I have far more than ONE unforgettable memory! Though, one moment that really sticks out was doing Romeo and Juliet on the alumni center lawn. I played the pivotal role of servant #2/the laundry lady of fair Verona. We rehearsed on the lawn outside the architecture building (where many of us fell victim to swine flu) and had several scheduled performances on the alumni lawn.  There was a freak snowstorm the night before the last performance forcing us to cancel but Matt Toronto insisted that the show must go on! With about 40 minutes of rehearsal, we restaged the entire show to fit into room 119 and then we did the show for a packed audience. It was very organic, very surreal, very moment-to-moment. An absolute blast! The snowstorm also caused most houses to lose power so everyone had to bring a candle to the cast party since there was no electricity.

A photo of theatre alum, Laura Matey
(With Signature's Managing Director, Maggie Boland, at opening night for the world premiere of Beaches the Musical)

What are you up to now?
I’m based in DC and work at the Tony Award winning Signature Theatre as the Executive Assistant to the Artistic and Managing Directors. My job is fast paced and often unpredictable but I love every minute of it. Working under Eric Schaeffer, Maggie Boland, and many others has provided me with fantastic opportunities and endless stories. I started at Signature as an intern just out of college and then spent a year at the Walnut Street Theatre before starting in my current position.  

A photo of theatre alum, Laura Matey 
(With Signature's Casting Director, Walter Ware)

How has your training at Penn State helped you get to where you are now? 
I am very fortunate for my time at Penn State and confident that it has enabled me to be where I am today. As a BA I graduated with a really strong, comprehensive understanding of all departments in theatre, the culture of the industry, and the work ethic that is required to succeed in this field.   My senior year I was fortunate enough to produce and direct a show with School of Theatre students and resources to benefit THON. It was a huge highlight of my time there and a big “aha!” moment for me as it helped me realized that my long-term goal of running a theatre company.  None of this would be possible if not for the training, support, and fantastic mentorship of the School of Theatre faculty.

A photo of theatre alum, Laura Matey
(Holding Signature's Regional Tony Award)



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