Musical theater major gains diverse experience in summer productions
Going from a New York City ghetto to an Ivy League law school to a quirky florist shop, it’s obvious Brinie Wallace gets around. And pumps up her résumé in the process. The incoming junior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theatre program has gained extensive professional experience this summer, participating in a reading for a Broadway revival and performing in two musical productions at regional theaters.
The whirlwind process of snagging a role in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s (PCLO) production of "Legally Blonde" even led her to get her Equity card. “I realized that if I could book a job at the prestigious PCLO, then it was time to grow up, make one of the hardest decisions of my career so far and join the union. It was time to take responsibility and pay my dues as a working professional.”
Wallace started off her summer with a reading of "The Me Nobody Knows," a 1970s rock musical featuring stories told through song about poor children in New York City. A casting agent in the audience asked the young women in the cast if they wanted to audition for the PCLO, and Wallace ended up with an appointment the next day.
Wallace played the role of Serena in "Legally Blonde," the musical based on the popular 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon. “My experience at PCLO was definitely an educational experience that I will take forward into my future career,” she said. “I really learned the ins and outs of my voice and how to maintain longevity.”
Wallace is currently performing the role of Chiffon in "Little Shop of Horrors" at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York, through July 26. “I’ve never done this show, and I’m excited to be doing it with this amazing cast of people. Jen Waldman, artistic director at the Hangar, is directing it, and it’s an amazing new direction of the timeless musical classic.”
At Penn State, Wallace performed in the spring 2014 production of "Funk It Up About Nothin’," a rap rendition of Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing." “My favorite role of my journey so far has to be playing ‘MC Lady B.’ I had never rapped a single day in my life, but as soon as opening night commenced in the State College night club Levels, I knew that was a thing of the past. I rapped, I danced, I represented Shakespeare, and it was one of those shows that I could’ve kept doing for years. That is hands-down my favorite memory at Penn State so far.”
Wallace said she is honored to be able to make memories as a Penn State student. “I chose Penn State because they represent quality over quantity. … We produce some of the most talented, warm, human artists out there. I love the fact that we have a conservatory program within a university setting,” she said. “Penn State is one of those programs that caters to students. Without the grants and generous alumni involved in my application process and acceptance into this program, I wouldn’t be where I am now. This program and the faculty and staff have supported me since day one.”