The Catholic University of America


Junior Christie Graham as Tracy in Hairspray

By Julia Capizzi        

Professional experience is an invaluable part of any CUA Musical Theatre student’s education and as such, our Musical Theatre students are encouraged to audition for and work with professional theatres outside of school.

This past summer, junior Christie Graham (MT '18) had the incredible opportunity to play Tracy in Hairspray at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland. Tracy is a true “triple-threat” role that requires proficiency in acting, singing, and dancing, and with five to eight performances a week over the course of a three month run, playing Tracy at Toby’s was no small task. Christie attributes her training at CUA with affording her the preparation, stamina, and ability to take on a such a long and intense run. “Here at CUA, you’re singing and dancing every day,” Graham says. “That’s something I wouldn’t be used to if I weren’t majoring in Musical Theatre. My training at CUA really got me into the habit of making sure I was warmed up and ready to go for every single rehearsal and show.”

Christie’s experience working in such a professional environment also helped her with her studies when she started her junior year this fall. “[Hairspray] helped me realize what’s important, what I need to focus on, and what I need to work on at school this year,” she claims. “Tracy is such a big character and playing her showed me how you can’t let your insecurities hold you back. You have to allow yourself to always be open and vulnerable.”

At CUA, we truly believe that granting students the opportunity to gain real world, professional experience in the field of Musical Theatre allows them to hone their skills and further prepare themselves to enter the industry as well rounded individuals and performers. As Christie and the rest of our students continue their studies at CUA, we know that they will strive for success.