Eileen Engel, Southeast Missouri State University musical theatre major, is interning at McLeod Summer Playhouse for the second consecutive summer.
Last year, the St. Louis, Mo., native performed as Marcy Park in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." This summer, she is performing as Connie in "A Chorus Line" and as a new postulant in an ensemble in "The Sound of Music."
"My performances in these shows will definitely contribute to my future success," she said. "Working at McLeod Summer Playhouse has taught me how to become an even stronger performer, singer, dancer and actress. I want to become a successful performer."
At her internship, Eileen rehearses every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Her rehearsal period is two weeks long, and then "A Chorus Line," opens. Two weeks later, "The Sound of Music" debuts.
"It’s a very short time to put a show together, so the rehearsals are very intensive, and everyone learns a ton every day," she said.
Eileen has already performed in several Southeast productions, including "Anything Goes" as Bonnie, "Once on this Island" as a peasant, "Carousel" as a dancer and singer, "The Children’s Hour" as Peggy Rodgers and "Sweet Charity" as a dancer and singer. She has also assisted in the technical side of theatre at the University, designing makeup for "Little Shop of Horrors," draping a dress for "The Children’s Hour" and making her own dress for "Anything Goes."
"Being in these shows has helped me to grow stronger physically, emotionally and mentally. It also prepared me for my summer stock job at McLeod Summer Playhouse," she said. "I felt very prepared walking into the professional environment."
Eileen says her favorite moment at Southeast was when she was cast as Bonnie in "Anything Goes."
"It was my first principal role in college, and I learned so much from working on that show," she said.
She has also worked as an assistant at the River Campus costume shop for the last two and a half years.
"I feel like Southeast will always push me to the best of my abilities. I was initially nervous about majoring in a field that I had no real training in. Southeast’s Department of Theatre and Dance had faith in me and gave me the chance to learn how to succeed professionally in theatre. They made me feel extremely welcome. All professors in the department want their students to be successful and will do anything in order to help them," she said. "Without faculty at Southeast, I would never have been able to become who I am today."
When she is not performing, Eileen explores downtown Cape Girardeau. She also enjoys photography, sports and traveling. She wants to one day visit London, and her favorite travel destinations are Disney Cruise, Disney World and Disney Land. She fondly remembers visiting these places as a child.
She plans to audition for Disney as well as look for work in New York after graduating in May 2012.
"I am excited about what the future is going to bring," she said.
Eileen encourages future Southeast students, "Stick with what you are passionate about. Do not let anyone convince you not to follow your dreams. If you have the drive, you will find a way to achieve your goals."