Southeast Missouri State University sophomore Adam Schween told the University’s Board of Regents today that the River Campus provides some of the best facilities in the country and has afforded him a fantastic educational experience.
Schween, a musical theatre major from Memphis, Tennessee, became interested in Southeast when his friend, Southeast student Malachi Marrareo, told him it would be a good fit.
“After visiting the River Campus and seeing the facilities, I was in love,” Schween said.
When he started his studies at Southeast, he knew he needed improvement.
“When I first attended, I could barely sing a note on pitch, I could barely act without it being super showy and I couldn’t dance,” Schween said. “But thanks to the hard work of the faculty, I can solidly do all of those things. I’ve gone from a basic level of just doing to living on stage.”
He credits Josh Harvey, instructor of musical theatre, as a major influence.
“Josh Harvey has actually changed my life. He took me to a level where I feel comfortable in the New York City setting as a singer,” he said.
Schween was among a 35-member company from Southeast that took “An American Hero,” to the New York Musical Festival (NYMF) in New York City this summer. The company ran five performances of the musical between July 23-29 in the Acorn Theatre, and it received the Best of Festival Production Award and a citation for University Excellence.
In addition, Schween received the Award for Outstanding Individual Performance. Schween played the lead role of Thomas O’Brien in the production.
“Receiving the award made my career choice, in my mind, solid. I always have wanted to be an actor, and I always thought I could do it. But now, I know that I can,” he explained.
Schween also credits recent Southeast graduate, Jose Alpizar, as a mentor.
“Getting to perform with him was amazing. He is the poster child for ‘what you put in, you get out,’” Schween said. “He couldn’t dance, so he worked at it and is now cast as a dancer. He’s constantly working to improve.”
Co-written by Southeast 2017 graduate Cody Cole of O’Fallon, Missouri, and Dr. Kenn Stilson, chair of The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, the dramatic musical centers on an optimistic Irish immigrant, who joins the United States Army, falls in love with and marries a spirited American woman, before being sent to fight in World War II, where he becomes the reluctant recipient of the Medal of Honor. Along the way, he learns the depths of his love of family, the sacrifices of heroes and the true meaning of becoming an American.
“Performing at the New York Musical Festival was a dream come true,” Schween said. Millions of actors around the world are fighting for an opportunity to perform on an off-Broadway stage, and I was able to make that dream come true at only 20.”
After graduation, Schween plans to pursue his acting career and incorporate directing later.
“I want to go right to New York and start,” he said. “I also want to work on cruise ships, to travel the world and perform.”