Southeast Missouri State University

Freshman Stands Out in Southeast Theatre

Department of Theatre & Dance

Joseph “JoJo” Ramos is just a freshman, but audiences at Southeast Missouri State University’s theatre performances would never know any different.

JoJo, a theatre and dance major at Southeast, starred in two theatre productions, “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Carousel,” at Southeast this school year -- a rare accomplishment for a freshman.  He credits his family for this success because his father’s position in the military forced him to mature sooner than his peers.

“I have always been deemed older than my actual age by appearance and mostly my maturity.  I can thank my family for that,” JoJo said. 

“My dad would be gone on tours to Iraq or Korea for six months at a time, so I would essentially step into the role of dad while he was away.”

His maturity may play a part in his success, but there is no denying JoJo has natural talent in theatre.  The passion he has for acting helps as well.

“I have worked really hard on my gift and trained myself to be accepting of all roles and to jump at any opportunity that will lead to a closer relationship with the art of theatre,” JoJo said.

JoJo began acting when he was a sophomore in high school.  He received the role of Gideon Pontipee in the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and he immediately knew he wanted to continue acting. 

“Ever since that moment when I took my first curtain call, I knew this was my calling.  It just embodies my whole life, and I am completely dedicated from the moment I arrive at my first rehearsal until the end of strike set after the last performance,” JoJo said.

JoJo chose to attend Southeast over other prestigious theatre universities, and he says since he stepped on campus, he has not once second-guessed himself. 

“I love acting here at Southeast because to production staff and most actors are very professional, and that’s what I’m looking for,” he said.

Their professionalism, he says, is preparing him for the real world, which he cannot wait to experience.  Although he has plenty time before he graduates, JoJo plans to begin an acting career in theatre or work as a screen actor in Los Angeles or move to the East coast where he would audition for Broadway shows.

JoJo has large goals for himself, but at this rate, it seems there is nothing he can’t achieve.

“My goal as a member of the theatre is to be able to connect with the audience and give them their money’s worth,” he said.  “The way I look at it is people are able to escape life when they attend a live theatre performance, and if I can’t get them to believe they are actually in [the setting of the performance] then I’m not applying myself fully into this talent and art.”