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Taylor Louderman ’13

Ever seen a Broadway musical? There’s nothing quite like them. Everyone saw The Sound of Music in elementary school, and I for one know that half my graduating class had seen Rent. Believe it or not, some well-known performers got their education right here at Michigan’s Musical Theatre program. Only a very small group of students get accepted, though. So, what’s life like for these select few? I went to one of Michigan’s own - Taylor Louderman - to find out a little more.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself before you came to Ann Arbor.
Well, I am from a very small town about an hour outside of St. Louis, MO where the cattle population exceeds the human population. I have lived there since second grade, but I was born in Madison, WI and lived in Chicago for a while. I have four younger sisters; the youngest two are twins. They are 7 and the MOST adorable. I love them so much. Growing up, my father coached my basketball team and my mother drove me into St. Louis for various rehearsals between musical productions and Radio Disney. I took dance classes when I was little, but my first musical was Annie in a small professional theatre close to home where I got to play the lead.  In high school I continued to play basketball and added soccer and volleyball to the list. I was valedictorian of my class until I switched to a neighboring high school, but I maintained the grades and involvement. Switching schools was tough.  Once I started driving, I'd go to school, soccer practice, and then drive an hour to St. Louis for rehearsal and an hour back the same night. Then repeat it all over again! But I knew what I wanted and because it was fun, it didn't seem like such a hassle at the time. Looking back, I must have been crazy!
Q: When did you decide you wanted to study Musical Theatre? And how did you decide you wanted to come to the program here at Michigan? Was there something that set this program apart to you from others?
Oh, gosh. That's tough! I don't think there was ever a pivotal moment as far as deciding. It was just kind of a given that this was what I wanted to do. When you're young, it's hard to see the reality behind such a demanding career, but I loved it and I couldn't see myself doing anything else. So in my mind, from the minute I had to seriously start thinking about my future, I knew Musical Theatre was it for me.

The whole college process for Musical Theatre majors is much different than others. The school sort of chooses you! Everyone knows which schools are the top schools, and what tier each one is in. So if you get into a good school, you put it on your resume, and you already have a great reputation when you get to New York. You go to the BEST school you get into! Kids all over the country aspiring a career in Musical Theatre (which has apparently become the new law degree) gear up for college auditions with an entire portfolio to display, which usually includes about two songs, two monologues, and a couple dance combinations. It varies for each program. Michigan won't grant anyone an audition until they are first accepted into the school academically. That, writing a ton of essays, and the football games set Michigan apart from the other Musical Theatre programs in the nation. About 800 people (and that number goes up every year) audition and 20 are admitted into the department each year. Lucky for me, Michigan currently holds the number one Musical Theatre program in the country so there was no question where I was headed once I got my acceptance phone call.
Q: I know you've done a lot so far in such a young career. What do you think has been your best achievement thus far? What has been your greatest challenge or letdown?
Well, of course, being a part of the number one Musical Theatre program in the country is probably my biggest accomplishment thus far! But I was also honored and had an amazing summer working at the St. Louis Municipal Opera, or The Muny. It's basically what y'all would call an internship. We call it “summer-stock.”  The Muny is the best paying summer stock, and you get to work with Broadway stars!
I think the biggest letdown has hit me just recently, in fact. It's the lifestyle. It's so hard to explain, but in the professional world you always have to be on top of your game, you're almost always replaceable, you get one day off a week, nights are spent doing a show and days are spent taking classes and lessons. You could be on tour for a whole year or more and never stay in the same place for more than a month, or establish beautiful relationships only to leave them behind when the show ends, and the competition is ruthless. It's just a very scary profession! The pace is nothing like that of my childhood and compromising is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, it will be keep me on my toes.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself for the rest of your time at Michigan? What do you hope to do after graduation?
To take advantage of EVERY MINUTE here! There is SO much to learn, and not just from sitting - or in my case "moving"- in class all day. It's just everywhere! And it's our responsibility to soak it all up! I'd also love to get involved in more organizations and activities here and become a little more well rounded. I think it's so valuable for me as a human being and a performer.
After school, my class will have a showcase in New York City for plenty of agents, casting directors, and managers, and then hopefully get our lives started there in the city. I wouldn't be surprised if some of us ventured into the TV and film industry, but I think we'd all agree that that industry is more luck-based. You have even less control. Of course, I believe luck is when preparation meets opportunity so I'll keep working hard!
**Taylor Louderman and The University of Michigan will be performing Brigadoon from April 14th-17th.
Come watch one of Michigan’s rising stars in action!

Carly is a junior attending the University of Michigan on a full-ride scholarship. She is pursuing a degree in psychology, with a focus on organizational psychology, though hopes to pursue a career in the media. She also enjoys writing for her school's newspaper, The Michigan Daily, where she works as a sports reporter, in addition to working with ESPN as a campus ambassador. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on the maize and blue, spending time with her sorority sisters, and watching her favorite show - Sex and the City. She loves the Beatles, snowboarding, Starbucks and Blackberry Messenger.
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