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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU Senior Theatre Major takes her final bow in “It’s a WoMANS World” 

In 2020, AU sunsetted its Theatre and Musical Theatre major programs.
Submitted by Mattie Vermilya
Attached is the poster for Mattie’s showcase for her senior project.

On Nov.11 at 7:30 p.m. Mattie Vermilya will be performing her senior Musical Theatre project, “It’s a WoMANS World: A Theatrical Gender-Bent Showcase” in the Studio Theatre at Ashland University.  

 The show is directed by Professor Chelsea Croke and features Dasam Kwon on piano. Other performers include Ellie Nickoli and Leanna Uselton. The showcase will feature songs from Hamilton, Les Misérables, Dear Evan Hansen, among other well-known musicals. No tickets are needed for the performance, but seating is limited.   

In 2020, AU sunsetted its Theatre and Musical Theatre major programs. The last majors are all graduating by Spring 2024.   

Among them is Vermilya, graduating this December. Since she is the final Musical Theatre major to have a showcase, this makes Vermilya’s project the last of its kind at the university.  

Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, Vermilya’s academic advisor and overseer of the project, thinks it is always exciting to see a student take on a project like this. 

Since last Spring, Vermilya has had to “identify goals and try to refine them,” said Durbin-Ames, and “ideally, this is a different project today than it would’ve been three and a half years ago when Mattie started.”  

This showcase is the time for Vermilya to look back and see her growth over the past four years at AU. When asked about the process of the project, Vermilya admits that it “has been really exciting, but there were definitely challenges. I am thankful to have my two great friends, and APO littles, by my side during the process.”  

Both Durbin-Ames and Vermilya point out how Broadway and the West End have started to move in the direction of gender-bending roles.  

What this means is that roles originally meant to be male become female, or vice versa. Most recently, Bobby in Stephen Sondheim’s Company was changed from a man to a female presenting character.  

With the industry changing in this way, it is a valuable project to have on her resume and Vermilya said, “Performing a showcase with gender-bent pieces will provide me with many benefits walking into the professional world because things are shifting in this direction.” 

In her time at AU, Vermilya was part of every AU production, something expected of all majors and those on Theatre scholarship. Some of these shows included, The Theory of Relativity (Catherine), She Kills Monsters (Evil Gabbi), Antigone (Antigone), and Proof (Catherine).  Antigone was Vermilya’s favorite role at AU because she got to portray a character with so much strength, loyalty, and virtue. Vermilya said the role was also her most unexpected, making it even more exciting.  

Vermilya commented on her experience with AU Theatre these past four years saying, “I will forever be thankful for the friendships I’ve made, the shows I’ve been a part of, and the skills I’ve gained from AU Theatre.”

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