By Karis Fuller
Arts & Entertainment Editor
This series follows musical theatre students going into their last year year at Post, and in most cases, watches them chase their goal for a big stage role. But for senior Cassidy Nelson, her time as a member of the Post Theatre Company has led her down a different path completely.
Hailing from Bellmore, Nelson accepted a place at Post following a summer honors camp between her junior and senior year of high school. “The biggest thing that attracted me to Post was that the professors really knew their students, you weren’t just a number in a class,” she said. “No matter what program I’m in, no matter what class I’m in, the professor will know my name.”
Once she had started at Post, Nelson quickly added a minor in arts management to her already time consuming BFA in musical theatre. It wasn’t until late in the fall semester of her sophomore year that Nelson made a decision that would change her path in the theatre program and shape her future.
Nelson decided to take on a minor in psychology, which meant she had to change her major to a BA in musical theatre. Juggling the two minors, her original BFA major and the honors college requirements would be impossible. “I couldn’t balance the very demanding BFA program along with two minors, so I had to give something up,” she said.
Nelson explained the biggest differences between the BA and BFA in musical theatre. “You’re done with most of your MT (musical theatre) classes the end of your sophomore year,” she said, which frees up time for her to meet the requirements of her minors.
This is the decision that led her to a career path that would most impact others, a future in drama therapy. “A lot of my class, all the power to them, are going out and auditioning and that’s great for them, but that’s not for me,” she said. “I can’t live that life, I am looking for something else. For something that would affect people everywhere and would change people, and that I can wake up and know that I have a purpose, that I am to change their life. That’s what I need to do.”
After graduating in spring 2019, Nelson will head off to start her graduate degree in drama therapy. Whilst here a Post however, Nelson hasn’t found her way all alone. She attributes her boyfriend for constant support, but also professor David Apichell for always advising her in what’s right and wrong.
The remainder of this semester and at the start of the spring, Nelson will be focussing on her graduate applications that are due in January, and finishing her honors college thesis that is due at the end of this semester. Nelson is writing about the importance of art education for children with special needs and general education students, which ties in with what she has planned for the future.
Her ultimate goal is an admirable one. After she completes her undergraduate and graduate education she hopes to develop an arts therapy establishment in NYC that caters to children with special needs where they can come to learn music, art, theatre, writing, and gain the assistance they need to thrive.
Nelson gives some advice too. “Don’t put yourself into a small box because you are capable of so much,” she said. “You can do anything if you just try.”