CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 2, 2014 – Southeast Missouri State University senior Andrew Gehrlein of Rolla, Mo., will launch the first step in his career when he joins the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) on July 15 as an actor.
“I’m looking forward to working with professionals who do this for a living. That is what I want to do, and it will be amazing to experience what a full-time acting job really is,” Gehrlein said.
Gehrlein has been hired for an entry-level position with the company, which hires first-time actors and gives them a year of working before deciding whether or not to hire them.
“This way they can get a feel of our work ethic, performance capabilities, etc., in case they want to hire us on as a full company member in the future. Essentially it is a year-long trial run for me, and I will be performing the whole time,” Gehrlein said.
He will act in seven plays with the touring company.
“I’ve always wanted to work in a Shakespeare company ever since I performed in Hamlet in fall 2011 here at Southeast. I was looking at multiple theaters, and the audition dates of this one simply worked out great in my schedule,” said Gehrlein, who portrayed the title character in Hamlet at the University.
Gehrlein’s contract will run from July to May.
“I’ll be working at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company performing in several Shakespearean plays and one or two non-Shakespearean shows. At CSC, they typically hire on first-time performers on their touring company. The touring company members perform a few shows on the regular stage with the full-time company, but they also tour around the surrounding areas, going to schools, smaller theaters, and then perform there. It is a great way to bring live Shakespearean theatre to people who might not otherwise have a large theatre like CSC nearby,” Gehrlein said.
He will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the University in May.
“Without my time at Southeast, I would know absolutely nothing about theatre as a career. Over the past five years, I’ve learned about every aspect there is to performing for a living, and I will be more than capable to start my career after graduation,” he said.
While at the University, his favorite performances have been Hamlet in 2011 and Brighton Beach Memoirs this year.
In addition to acting at the University, he has worked at the Shawnee Summer Theatre in Bloomfield, Ind., for the last two summers. Even though he was hired as an actor, he also assisted in the scene shop building sets for shows.
“The hours were long, hot and exhausting – but they produced great shows. I definitely became a well-rounded performer working at Shawnee, and learned a lot doing various jobs both in cast and crew positions. At CSC, I will just be acting in their shows,” he said.
For Gehrlein, joining the Shakespeare Company “is a huge step for me in building my resume, as well as earning Equity Membership Candidate points that I can eventually use to join the Actor’s Equity Association, which is the union for professional theatrical performers.”
In addition to acting, he enjoys writing, especially for theatre.
“I’ve always been a writer my whole life. I’ve written several plays and scenes that I hope to produce one day. I hope both my acting and writing career can intertwine throughout my life,” he said.
He offers this advice to future students: “If you see an opportunity, take it. And be confident about it – confident, but humble. If you have an opportunity to make your dream come true, then walk in there and take it,” he said.