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Theater students discuss women actresses who inspire them

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Florence Pugh, at the Wonder BFI London Film Festival Premiere in October 2022, is acting major Meredith Reed’s inspiration. Pugh played the lead role of Dani in the movie “Midsommar.”

To celebrate Women’s History Month, several students from the theater program were asked a simple question: Who is their favorite actress, and why are they an inspiration? 

Theater is a powerful form of media that moves audiences, and in certain cases, it is enough to motivate people to be a part of theater itself. A generation of actors and actresses will inspire the next generation to become the next cast in a movie, play, or musical, whether it be live-action or animated.

The Ammerman theater program is home to some of these talented individuals who take part in the on-campus plays as well as running tasks behind the scenes.

Andy Laloudakis, a general theater major from Mastic and a member of the ensemble for “Head Over Heels,” said that Sutton Foster is an inspiration to them. “Her voice is amazing,” Laloudakis said. “I’m a theater kid, I listen to show tunes. I listen to her, and I feel motivated by her voice and her songs, and I just love that certain songs she sings are very uplifting.”

Foster is a Broadway actress who has won two Tony awards for best actress in a musical for her roles in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Anything Goes.” Laloudakis also states some of their favorite roles of Foster include Fiona from “Shrek the Musical” and Mrs. Lovett from “Sweeney Todd.”

Meghan Maroney, a theater and technology major who was the stage manager for “The Thanksgiving Play,” said Lola Tung is their inspiration “because she is currently playing Eurydice in ‘Hadestown’ and she is doing amazing,” Maroney said. “I haven’t seen her. I’ve seen the person before her. But I’ve seen a lot of clips and she sounds really good. She came from almost nothing and she jumped straight into Broadway, and now she’s doing amazing.”

Acting student Meredith Reed stands in front of the theater segment of the Islip Arts Building on March 19, 2024. (Compass News/Michael Melecio) (Michael Melecio)

Tung is also credited for “Almost Famous,” as well as appearing in the TV series “The Summer I turned Pretty” as lead character Isabel Conklin.

Meredith Reed, an acting major as well as assistant director for “The Thanksgiving Play” and also the intimacy coordinator for “The Thanksgiving Play” and “Head Over Heels,” is inspired by Florence Pugh, who is known for roles in “Malevolent,” “Black Widow,” “Puss in Boots the Last Wish,” “Oppenheimer,” “The Boy and The Heron,” and the lead role of Dani in “Midsommar.”

“Florence – performance-wise – she’s just fantastic. She always digs into everything,” Reed said. “You could always tell she’s really going for it as a human. She is who she is, no matter what, and I appreciate that.”

Theater is a place of expression. It is meant to inspire others, and that can only be done with actors and actresses alike.

“To tell a story like that is to celebrate what it means to be human,” Reed said. “The more voices, the more perspectives, the better.”

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About the Contributor
Michael Melecio
Michael Melecio, Student Life Editor
Michael Melecio is a 19-year-old double major in journalism and English from Mastic and the Student Life Editor for Compass News.

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