A group of ESU students received a visit from a special guest on Friday morning.
“It’s not every day that we get to say we have a superstar in the building,” said Theatre Department Chair Dr. Margaret Ball. “Today, we have a very impressive superstar of a press agent: Sam Rudy.”
Rudy represents Vineyard Theatre, a nonprofit theatre company based in New York. He has also managed media relations for some of Broadway’s most recognizable acts, including 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Hamilton.”
“I work on a little musical you may or may not have heard of…it’s called ‘Hamilton,’’ said Rudy. “Have any of you heard of it?”
Many members of the audience—most of whom were theatre students—quickly raised their hands.
“Then I’ve done my job,” said Rudy.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in central Pennsylvania and was the first grandson on my father’s side to go to college,” said Rudy. “I wanted to be a journalist.”
Rudy said that while studying journalism at Penn State, he got involved with theatre his junior year. He later perused public relations as a way to immerse indulge both interests.
“As a publicist, I’m not writing the story,” he said, “I’m pitching it.”
“One of the most important things I’ve learned from Edward [Albee] is that it’s the theatre’s responsibility to send the audience home in a condition different from the one they arrived in,” said Rudy.
Rudy explained his belief that art should have an impact on the audience—even if that doesn’t translate well during initial reception.
“It’s easy in our industry to think that you are your reviews,” said Rudy, “but by-in-large, I think a lot of people that go to theatre want to be engaged; they want to be challenged.”
Expressing his own affection for “Hamilton,” Rudy reciprocated the audience’s excitement about performing arts. He even went as far as calling ESU freshman Sam Kashefska on stage for a live rendition of the musical’s opening act.
Rudy also offered a behind-the-scenes look at ‘Avenue Q’ when students attend the Broadway musical next month on a trip sponsored by the LGBTQA Program Center, Musical Theater Organization and People Representing Individual Diversity in Education.
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