If Jordan Maranto looks familiar to you, there are a number of places you might have seen her around campus: maybe it was when she had audiences in stitches at the last Gigglepants improv show, or the latest Longhorn LateNight broadcast. It might have been at a meeting for the theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega, where she acts as the current Rush Coordinator. You may have seen her in UT Theatre and Dance’s production Refugia, a devised work that paired theatre students with seasoned professionals in order to create a beautiful social commentary about refugees across the globe. Wherever you’ve seen her, it’s clear that the sophomore BFA Acting major has talent, dedication, and a bubbly personality that makes her hard to forget.
Her Campus Texas: How did you get started in theatre?
Jordan Maranto: I auditioned for my high school’s fall show, Dearly Departed, my freshman year. It was the snazziest of times and I haven’t stopped acting since!
HCTX: You recently performed in Refugia, a devised work with The Moving Company. What was it like working with a professional company on such an abstract piece?
JM: Overall, it was an extremely rewarding experience. The Moving Company is a group of four incredibly talented, seasoned performers. I am a firm believer in the idea that you learn even more from watching than you do from actually doing, and my time throughout the show was a glorious balance of both. They treated us like fellow professional actors, and I now feel even more motivated to reach their level of technique and discipline.
HCTX: Refugia had a little bit of everything: acting, movement, and singing. How did having that variety shape your performance?
JM: I’ve always loved acting and movement, but singing has never been my forte. Refugia forced me to dive into it. There were only two other sopranos and we were asked to sing in multiple languages, so if you didn’t work your vocals to the max, the execution wouldn’t have been great. I always felt like the weak link amongst my talented colleagues, but in way, it made me happier to be there. It pushed me to better myself and have more fun with it. I was constantly humbled throughout the entire experience.
HCTX: You’re also a member of UT’s improv troupe Gigglepants. What’s your favorite thing about doing improv?
JM: My favorite thing about doing improve is definitely how fearless and positive it forces you to be. Each scene has to be approached without hesitation, and with the intent of making everyone around you look good. If you’re playing to be the funniest, you’re doing it wrong. It builds your confidence while simultaneously diminishing your ego. I really can’t think of a more positive way to spend my time.
HCTX: How did you first get in Longhorn LateNight?
JM: Through members of Gigglepants, actually! About half of my “Noob” class [new members] is actively involved in the show, and I am forever thankful for meeting those funny people.
HCTX: Not only do you work and go to school, but you’re also a board member in the national theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega, an active member of Gigglepants, a player on Longhorn LateNight. On top of all that, you’re constantly in rehearsals for other shows in the Theatre and Dance department. How the heck do you do it all?
JM: I guess the trick is to be passionate about whatever you choose to do. Yes, I do a lot, but I do it all because I love it. I think it’s silly to waste your time on something that doesn’t fulfill you. Whether I’m writing a sketch, studying a scene for Shakespeare, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading for class, I try to find purpose in whatever activity I’m a part of (but also caffeine).
HCTX: What’s your ultimate goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JM: I want to be acting professionally in whatever capacity! That itself would make feel extremely blessed.
HCTX: Picture this: you’ve just won Best Actress in a Drama at the Primetime Emmys. Who do you thank in your acceptance speech?
JM: I would thank my family, along with an assortment of teachers and friends. This is the hardest career to really support your child in doing, and my parents do it without hesitation. How lucky am I?
HCTX: What upcoming projects are you working on? What can we see you in next?
JM: In a Gigglepants show, on an episode of Longhorn LateNight, or in the play that I start rehearsals for next week, Purification. It’s a show written by Nicole Oglesby that will be premiering at the Cohen New Works Festival in April. We’re under the leadership of our incredible director, Luke Linsteadt, and we have the best team imaginable. I honestly can’t wait to start working on it.