By Dylan Valic
Post’s theatre program was recognized by “OnStage Blog” as one of the top 30 college musical theatre programs in the country.
“OnStage Blog” is an online publication dedicated to promoting the art of theatre. The website was started by Chris Peterson in 2014 to cover theatre in his hometown, but has since expanded to cover the arts internationally.
Peterson chose to feature Post because of the quality of the program and its faculty.
“For us, it was an easy choice to put LIU Post high on our lists once again. The selection of majors the school offers only enhances a student’s versatility in entering these industries,” Peterson said. “Also, with LIU-Post’s top-notch faculty, students are receiving exactly the type of training they need. We feel that LIU Post has quickly become a theatrical gem in New York.”
Students agree that what truly makes the program outshine the rest is the dedication put in by staff.
“Our professors specialize our experiences to give us the exact training we need and want. They give us hundreds of performing tools that we learn how to apply to ourselves,” Steele Whitney, a sophomore theatre major, said. “I can comfortably say that our training is unlike any other program in the entire country.”
The effort put in by students is also a central piece to the program. “I can’t say enough about how amazing our students are,” theatre professor David Hugo said. Hugo feels “grateful and blessed” to work with students who are so dedicated to what they do.
The theatre department also prides itself on having student involvement in all aspects of production.
“In this department everyone does everything,” Cara Gargano, chairperson of the department of theatre, dance & arts management, said. “There are no stars and no divas; we are all here to support the work. Being an artist means putting ego aside and working to create something that changes peoples’ lives.”
Students in the program also have the opportunity to participate in shows outside of class as well. The Emerging Student Theatre Association (ESTA) is a student-run organization that puts on shows every semester. ESTA gives students a chance to direct, act in and write shows outside the normal curriculum. “This is a way that can put our art out there and share it with our community,” sophomore musical theatre major Shelley Dean said. “This is also a way for us to try other things besides acting. It is extremely useful to go out into the world and be able to direct, stage manage or choreograph on top of acting.”
Despite receiving recognition, the theatre program still faces problems such as low staff and a lack of space. Some feel that being recognized contradicts how the university has been treating the department.
“If we have the recognition, we should have the reward,” Whitney said. “Our faculty works way beyond class hours to make sure every student is taken care of. They are here every single day of the week and oftentimes the weekend as well. In a growing, succeeding program, we need a growing faculty, improving facilities, and honestly more respect from the university.”
Hugo agrees that lack of space and low staff are problems that need to be addressed, but believes the university does have the student’s best interest in mind. “I didn’t get to Broadway by having negative thoughts,” he said. “I got to Broadway by believing in myself and believing that I could. And I believe that at this school too, that eventually we’ll get what we need, and the students will be supported more.”