Ursula Trasorras and Daniel Lennox, Jr. are two of many VSU students and alumni who have earned a role in Peach State Summer Theatre (PSST!). Like most of PSST’s actors, Ursula and Daniel are involved in all three performances: “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Newsies,” and “Hello, Dolly!” Ursula and Daniel just kicked off a 13-performance run of “Newsies,” a Disney musical based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899. In the show, publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices at the newboys’ expense. Outraged Newsies take action and soon New York City recognizes the power of the “little man.”
For Ursula and Daniel, this is not only an energetic and motivational story to share with the world, but also, it’s a chance for them to experience the daily grind of a professional performer and seize the opportunity to launch their professional careers in musical theatre.
We picked their brains about PSST! and here’s what they had to say:
Tell us about your experience with “Newsies” so far.
Ursula: “It’s been very different from what I am used to, but it’s been fun. It’s always nice to get to know new cast members and people from other states. Just getting the opportunity to perform in a show like “Newsies” is exciting; you don’t get to do a show like this very often in educational theatre, so it’s a cool show to be debuting in.”
Daniel: “We are usually asked to be in rehearsal from 8:30 in the morning until 10 o’clock at night. Then, you wake up and do it again. So, even though it’s different than just being a student in VSU’s theatre program, it’s given us a taste of what it’s like to be a professional performer. It’s a lot of grinding, but you’ve got to get through it. It’s what you love.”
Daniel Lennox, Jr., who plays Albert in “Newsies” is pictured raising his hand in the top left corner of the photo.
What does the opportunity to work with PSST! mean to you?
Ursula: “It’s a very cool opportunity that a lot of students at other universities don’t have. And since (VSU) is where we go to school and we work with all the professors one on one anyway, it’s nice to also have the opportunity to grow as a professional alongside those who are teaching us every day and preparing us for the future.
Daniel: “I agree. It’s really nice to get a taste of that professional world before we’re thrust into it with a degree, not really knowing how everything will be. I do know though that if I had gone to another university I would not be having this experience nor would I be getting to work with professors on a professional level. Professor Joe Mason, for example, is a working actor and musical director for the music courses here at VSU, and it’s been great working with him on a professional level.”
Ursula Trasorras, who plays Buttons in “Newsies” poses at the front of the group.
What are you hoping to accomplish through this experience?
Ursula: “I am hoping that this will serve as a gateway to more professional work. Again, since we go to school here, it’s helpful for this experience to be taking place on our campus where we can work with our professors in a professional manner. I think working with PSST! will show us and other companies out there that we can do this. This is the perfect place to start.”
Daniel: “It is the perfect place to start because we’re building a strong foundation that is built from working three big shows at the same time, and we’re having to learn how to separate all three. The shows we’re working on are in different places in our brain, so it’s great to get a feel for what it’s really going to be like once we graduate and be able to see the growth that we’re experiencing now through this process.”
Seize the Day lyrics from Disney’s “Newsies”
Now is the time to seize the day, stare down the odds and seize the day
Minute by minute that’s how you win it, we will find a way
But let us seize the day.
“Newsies” will be running until July 14 in VSU’s Sawyer Theatre. Get your tickets today to see Ursula, Daniel, and other VSU students and alumni in PSST!