Southeast Missouri State University student Brad Rolen has performed professionally every summer since his freshman year in college and stays involved with the theatre at Southeast during the school year, all while maintaining Dean’s List status.
“If you know what you want, you have to work hard to achieve it,” the St. Louis, Mo., native encourages future Southeast students.
Brad follows his own advice. This summer he is working at the Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota. He will be playing a brother in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and in an ensemble in “All Shook Up.”
Last summer he worked at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre in Clinton, Iowa, where he performed as Tom Collins in “Rent,” Joe in “Showboat,” Lloyd Dallas in “Noises Off,” in an ensemble in “Big River” and the boatman in “Sunday in the Park in George.” He also instructed at the children’s theater camps when he wasn’t performing.
In the summer of 2009, he worked at McLeod Summer Playhouse in Carbondale, Ill., where he performed in the ensemble, “All Shook Up.”
Brad stays busy during the school year participating in numerous performances at Southeast’s River Campus, including the recent productions, “Anything Goes” and “Carousel.” His favorite role was Ton-ton Julian in “Once on this Island” in the fall of 2010.
When he is not at work, school or rehearsals, Brad is practicing. He sings at least an hour every day outside of rehearsals and stretches in preparation for performances.
Brad attributes his success and his ability to be a well rounded entertainer to what he learned from theatre and the many dance teachers he has had at Southeast.
“They try their best to give us all the individual attention and training we need, and they are usually always more than willing to work with us during their office hours or stay late after rehearsals,” he said. “In a sense we’re all one huge family.”