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Music Theatre

Student Voices

  • Lauren McKee '18
    Lauren McKee '18

Lauren McKee ’18


Warren, Illinois


Music Theatre


Communication and Digital Media

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is on the rocks by the lake. I try to take advantage of the warm weather as much as I can because in the winter I always wish I could sit by the lake. I like to go there and read, do homework, and hang out with friends. We live on such a beautiful campus and I like to enjoy it as much as possible.”

“The main reason I chose Carthage is the one-on-one attention received at my audition,” said Lauren McKee ’18. “The other college theatre auditions I attended were way less personal and I felt like I was just a number. I realize that is how theatre works in the real world, but I wanted my theatre education to be more personal. I also wanted to avoid being molded into a strictly music theatre performer, and Carthage has really helped me develop strong acting skills above everything else.”

As a music theatre major, Lauren has been given many opportunities to perform in plays at Carthage and abroad in places such as Italy. 

“Italy was a fantastic opportunity because we got to perform our play The Breath of Stars at an Italian arts festival. I’m grateful that I’ve had so many opportunities to travel through Carthage because I think traveling is one of the best ways to learn.”

After Carthage, Lauren plans to move to the city and start auditioning. Her idea of success as an actress is achieving creative fulfillment, and she strives toward this idea every day. 

“I’m sure everyone else thinks this about their major too, but I truly believe the music theatre major is one of the most demanding majors at this school, especially when it comes to time commitment. That being said, I also believe it to be one of the most rewarding. Theatre and entertainment is, and always has been, one of the most revered aspects of human life, and there’s no other feeling like performing in front of an audience. Anyone who has a passion for acting and the arts, and is willing to put in the time and energy to get the most out of this major most definitely should take the plunge and consider it.”

Career goal

“After I graduate, I hope to move to the city and start auditioning. My goal would be to get a part time job and be able to support myself while auditioning and acting as much as I can. My idea of success as an actress is achieving creative fulfillment, which doesn’t have to mean starring on Broadway. One of the major things I’ve learned so far at Carthage is how many different ways we can utilize our skills as actors.”

Favorite professor

Prof. John Maclay and Prof. Maggie Spanuello are two amazing theatre professors who have taught me more about acting than I ever thought I would know. They’ve helped me a lot when it comes to figuring out who I am as a performer and have allowed me to be free and utilize my kooky sense of humor. They both helped me realize that I’m funnier than I ever thought I was and that I have more potential than I ever thought I had. They also explain acting in a way that is very easy for me to understand. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from them.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class so far is probably a tie between my acting classes and Voice for the Stage (THR 3100). My acting classes were exciting for me because they were the first acting classes I had ever taken in my life. Voice for the Stage was a class where we worked on different dialects for acting. Dialects are something that I find to be really fun, but that are also useful. I feel like I now have a useful acting skill that I’m pretty confident with and if I’m asked to do a dialect in the future, I will be able to which is a great feeling.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class so far has been Acting III: Periods and Styles (THR 4110), but it has also been my most rewarding class. We do a lot of Shakespeare which I don’t have a lot of experience with and the class itself is a lot of work. I’ve also been given the most challenging material that I’ve ever had to perform in my life. This class has pushed me more than any other class I’ve taken, which is why it’s also the most valuable class I’ve taken.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I had the opportunity to go to New York and Italy last summer, one for a J-Term study tour and the other for a show that I was in. In New York for the J-Term trip we got to see all of the best Broadway shows, including Hamilton. Seeing such amazing theatre has inspired me and driven me to want to continue to do theatre. Italy was another fantastic opportunity because we got to perform our play The Breath of Stars at an Italian arts festival. I’m grateful that I’ve had so many opportunities to travel through Carthage because I think traveling is one of the best ways to learn.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“Most of my favorite Carthage moments and memories have to do with being in a show. One of my favorite shows to do was Young Frankenstein because it was hilarious and fun and I got to utilize my sense of humor. I love the feeling of unity that develops in a cast. My other favorite memories have probably been all of the random nights when I’ve just hung out with friends in our dorm. Living so close to all of my friends has given me a lot of opportunities to make fond memories.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise has been how much work I have to put in to succeed in this major.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“My 8-year-old self wanted to be Hilary Duff, so I think she’d be pleased that I’m going to school to learn how to sing and act.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“I would tell them to put in a lot more time and work than they think they need into the major.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2019), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

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    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

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    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

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    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

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    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …