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April 2014

Music theatre major has thrived in first year

Arianna Bartolotta said she’s been singing for as long as she can remember and acting for nearly as long. In fact, she’s been told by her parents she started singing before she could talk.

Bartolotta is still singing and acting today as a freshman musical theatre major at Avila University. And, she couldn’t be happier.

“I love it here, because I have friends not just in theatre, but in other majors as well,” said the outgoing, effervescent Bartolotta, a native of St. Louis, who exudes a personality that practically cries out “actress” with every word she speaks. “At other schools, you have students who stick with their peer groups. It’s nice that you know everybody here.”

After participating in community theatre while she was in grade school and playing a role in multiple productions at her high school, it’s hard to believe Bartolotta was thinking of pursuing a different major when she came to Avila.

“I was thinking of being a communications major,” she said. “But once I got here and saw what a wonderful program the theatre department had, it made me fall in love with theatre all over again. Then, I was going to double major in film and musical theatre. But, I wanted to focus mostly on acting.

“It’s what I love.”

Bartolotta is busy preparing for her biggest role yet – one of the lead roles in the Avila Theatre Department’s upcoming musical production of the classic, 9 to 5. She’ll play Doralee, the role made famous by country music legend Dolly Parton in the 1980 movie.

“I love that they gave a chance to a freshman to be a lead,” she said. “A lot of schools won’t do that.”

Bartolotta also participates in Campus Ministry. It can be a bit tricky fitting in everything with her theatre responsibilities, she said, but it’s an important element of her collegiate experience.

“I’m glad I’m doing both, because faith has always been important,” she said. “I wanted a big faith-based presence. I find a way to balance both (campus ministry and theatre).

“And,” she added, with a laugh, “I get to use my singing voice in Mass.” AU

Media Contact: Bob Luder, 816.501.2434