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Madeline Beer shines in theater production of “Enchanted April”

By Melanie Sudar

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Meet Madeline Beer: senior musical theater major from Shelby, Ohio, and one of the leading roles in the upcoming show, “Enchanted April.” This will be Beer’s seventh show that she has been cast in since starting at Ashland University. Although originally a music education major, Beer found her true calling in performing at Ashland University, and has been fulfilling that passion since her freshman year.

Beer said she chose Ashland because of its close proximity to home, and for the music department.

She said she changed her major due to her “burning passion to perform.” Beer has been in shows every semester since the spring semester of her freshman year, when she auditioned for “The Spitfire Grill.” However, her background in theater began before college.

“I started theater in high school,” Beer said. “Then I auditioned for community theater.”

Beer also said that she did summer theater and the renaissance theater in Mansfield, as well as shows in Ashland.

Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, director and theater department chair, said Beer’s background is evident in her performances.

“You want to work with her because you know she’ll work hard,” Durbin-Ames said.

Durbin-Ames has been a part of Ashland University’s faculty since 2000, and has directed about 10-12 shows since then.

She said she has worked with Beer in many shows, and admires her work ethic and discipline.

Junior musical theater major Johanna Regan is also cast in the show and agrees with Durbin-Ames.

Regan is one of Beer’s roommates and has also worked with her in “Sunday In The Park With George.”

“She brings an amazing energy that any actor can work with,” Regan said.

Beer is cast as Lotty, a London housewife looking for adventure.

The first scene of the show opens with Lotty and Rose, played by senior musical theater major Tara Kodosky, finding an ad in the newspaper to rent a villa in Italy for the month of April.

After some debate, the two women decide to go but only after placing another ad to find two more travel companions.

This new ad brings Mrs. Graves, played by Regan, and Caroline, played by sophomore musical theater major Emily Jeppesen.

With the travel plans complete, the four somewhat strangers set off for an adventure.

Beer described her character as joyful but also looking for something more in life.

“[Lotty] is full of hope and passion that she is going to change her life for the better,” Beer said.

Regan agreed and said that Lotty is “full of life.”

Being cast as Mrs. Graves, Regan said that the two characters conflict during most of the play due to the generation gap.

“I don’t get along with Lotty most of the play,” Regan said. “I don’t approve of her and most of the things she does.”

Although the characters’ attitudes conflict, Regan said that Beer is a joy to work with onstage and believes that she will go far in the future.

“She has an amazing talent,” Regan said.

Having been in performing for most of her life, Beer said that her favorite part of acting comes from the personal experience.

“My favorite part about acting is being able to reach the audience in a new way that is different than any other art form,” Beer said.

Regan agreed and said that Beer has a unique way of bringing life to her characters.

“You have to bring parts of yourself to the character no matter what,” Regan said. “[Beer] pulls on what she’s given in the script and makes the character more real.”

Durbin-Ames said “Enchanted April” will appeal to all Ashland students. The show is categorized as a “romantic comedy” and has something everyone can enjoy.

“There is a lot of talk about your ‘befores’ and ‘afters’ in life,” Durbin-Ames said. “Everybody has those moments. Anybody that comes can find a character to connect with.”

Both Regan and Beer agreed that the show is entertaining and said that all students should come to a performance.

“It’s very much about new beginnings,” Beer said.

Regan said that the show will not only appeal to Ashland University studentss but also other people, as the cast represents different generations.

“It’s the perfect date night,” Regan said. “It’s like a chick-flick for the stage. But it is for everyone because there are characters from each generation.”

“Enchanted April” will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in Hugo Young Theater. Other performances include Feb. 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, students, and university faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for AU students.

Durbin-Ames said the hard work has paid off and she is excited for the performances.

“It has been a lot of fun to work and it will be an enjoyable evening,” Durbin-Ames said.

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