Lizzie Calombaris can’t imagine majoring in anything but Music Theatre.
“Music Theatre is what I want to devote my life to because I believe it is important,” she said. “It allows me to step into someone else’s shoes and share their story with the world, and the feeling I get when I’m onstage singing is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Carthage’s commitment to make Lizzie a well-rounded individual drew her to the school. “I am taking classes in music, theatre, and every other subject area, which has helped me find passions I didn’t know I had,” Lizzie said. “I’m confident that when I graduate, I will be able to find employment, and I will be a more rounded individual and an informed member of society.”
“My favorite spot on campus? The dressing rooms in the Wartburg Theater. It’s where we get ready before performances and enjoy each other’s company before we take the stage.”
“To be a professional working actress in Chicago or Milwaukee.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“I feel like I have a very strong connection with the professors in both the Music and Theatre departments. But if I had to choose a favorite professor, it would be Prof. Corinne Ness. Not only is she my voice teacher, but she has also become one of my greatest mentors. She has the ability to help me understand the anatomy of my voice and tweak certain aspects of it so I can reach my full potential. Throughout the past few years, my voice has grown exponentially, and I owe that to Corinne for instilling and reinforcing a good work ethic and professionalism.”
“My favorite class here at Carthage has been Acting II. It was taught by Herschel Kruger and was such a thrilling challenge for me. Coming into school, I considered myself a singer who could act, but taking this class helped me sharpen my acting skills and become more aware of what is involved in making a phenomenal work of art. I also loved all of the plays we covered in the class and found it extremely exciting to see how my peers and I grew throughout the semester.”
“Definitely Aural Skills. This class teaches students to train their ears to hear pitches, chords, etc., without the help of a piano. I thought I was pretty good at this, but I was so wrong! I spent so much time practicing, went to see the the aural skills tutor, and cried out of frustration a lot. My hard work finally started to pay off by the end of the term.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“Carthage has opened a world of opportunities to me. Because the Carthage Theatre Department has such an extensive group of adjunct faculty members, there are so many contacts. If you need help finding a monologue, an internship, or a new play to read, there is always someone there to help you. Also, the contacts that our professors know have brought employment to many a graduate, and I can only hope this will be the same for me after graduation.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“The ending of Christmas Festival. The entire chapel raises their voices in a round of ‘Silent Night’ and lights their candles. It is a breathtaking sight, so spiritual and peaceful, and the perfect way to close first semester.”
Favorite spot on campus
“My favorite spot on campus? The dressing rooms in the Wartburg Theater. There are so many memories tied to those rooms for me. It’s where we get ready before performances, catch up on the happenings of castmates’ days, get rid of our pre-show jitters and giggles, and generally enjoy each other’s company before we take the stage. Just walking into them, you wouldn’t think they are all that special, but throw a gaggle of actors into them and they quickly become a very safe and special place.”
Biggest surprise so far
“How much of a community my major has become. Everyone truly supports each other. During auditions, there is no sense of cutthroat competition. We all want each other to excel and do well, and we are happy for each other whenever someone succeeds. This was quite unexpected because I just assumed that everyone in music theatre was self-centered and egotistical. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m so blessed to go to a school which hones this sense of community in its students.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“I think 8-year-old Lizzie would think that my Music Theatre major is pretty awesome. The first question out of 8-year-old Lizzie’s mouth would be, ‘Has the movie Anastasia become a big musical yet? Are you starring in it? I know all the words by heart, so I better be starring in it.’ I would unfortunately have to say, ‘The show hasn’t been written yet, but you bet your bottom dollar I’ll be the first in line to audition for it when it happens, and I still know all those words by heart!’
“I also think that 8-year-old Lizzie would be proud of the progress I have made in the past 12 years, going from a little girl who asks her mom to yell at her while she washes the floor in order to channel her inner ‘Little Orphan Annie’ to a professional young actress who has the opportunity to share her love of music with people all the time in various productions here at Carthage.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Music theatre is so special, and those who excel in it say that there is nothing else they could see themselves doing. So, pursue this major with all the love and passion you can. This constantly keeps me motivated to work harder, raise the bar higher, and achieve things I never thought were possible.”