Mark Reichard, Southeast Missouri State University musical theatre major, has a stage-presence
that is hard to beat.
That became obvious in his performance in Southeast’s Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” in which Mark, of Jefferson City, Mo., took on about nine roles for the play. Most actors are challenged by one role, but Mark fluidly transitioned from one character to another…to another…to another. Not only did he have to memorize lines for each of his characters but he also had to use different gaits, voices, voice inflections and personalities.
It is that type of talent that landed him a summer internship with the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City where actors such as Christopher Lloyd, Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall also received training before they became celebrities.
“I will go to classes 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive instruction and training in acting, voice and movement techniques, all of which are crucial to “making it” in the world of acting. I’m so excited!” Mark says of his internship at Neighborhood Playhouse.
While acting seems to come naturally to Mark, he says his success does not come without a lot of hard work.
“Actors put so much time into character preparation, character and play analysis, line memorization, songs, dances and more, and when it finally comes time to share the end result of all the hard work with an audience, there is a feeling of immense accomplishment and pride,” Mark said. “It’s a feeling that is hard to beat.”
Mark, a junior, also credits the University for contributing to his success on the stage as well as in his education. Mark has had roles in several Southeast Department of Theatre and Dance productions including Little Shop of Horrors, Biloxi Blues, 1940s Radio Hour, Carousel, Big River and Sweet Charity.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be in a good number of shows in my time here,” Mark said. “Southeast has really contributed to my success by challenging me. My theatre courses challenge me to constantly improve my skills, and my general education courses opened my eyes to so many other things and lifestyles.”
When Mark is not auditioning or rehearsing for theatre productions, he spends time with his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers. He says his participation with the fraternity led him to volunteer with Special Olympics and the North American Food Drive, which taught him the importance of being involved in the community and helped him brush up on his leadership and people skills as well.
“My fraternity is my family away from home. Joining Lambda Chi Alpha was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” Mark said.
After Mark completes his degree, he plans to move to New York City and audition until he makes it as a working actor in the city. He says the type of acting he does—whether it is in film, live theatre, commercial work, anything—doesn’t matter to him, as long as he can make a living doing what he loves.
Mark encourages Southeast students to “brush up on time management skills. I always surprise myself when I make schedules and plans and then STICK to those schedules and plans. I always find I’m capable of way more than I previously thought.”