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Steven Grant Douglas: UMD BFA Student breaks into the New York Acting Scene

Steven Grant Douglas
red house  
The Red House

Steven Grant Douglas plans to go on a road trip to New York after his final semester at UMD. But it’s not just any road trip; his destination holds the first big acting job of his post-graduate career.

Douglas completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and a Dance minor this month. With his degree in hand, he will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. where he will live and work for the summer with Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts’ Summer Theatre Festival.

“I’m most looking forward to the new environment working with new people in beautiful Upstate New York,” Douglas said. “I feel very fortunate to work as an actor coming out of college.”

Over spring break, Douglas made the trip to New York City for auditions. While he was there, he saw a listing for an audition he hadn’t scheduled. It was by appointment only, but he decided to give it a shot. To his surprise, he received an email back 20 minutes later.

“The next day, I went to the audition. I only sang 16 bars for them—one song. I only had 45 seconds of music to be like ‘Here, this is what I can do,’” he said. “They called me back on Friday, and on Monday, I got the offer.”

Douglas signed on with Red House/Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts. His contract with the theatre runs until mid-December, and the company will pay his living expenses. He will spend the summer performing as Ferdinand in The Tempest, Buddy in Side Show, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods, and Matt in The Fantasticks. He and the company will take their shows on the road, traveling to perform in small communities.

“ I’m really excited about it, because it’s not only a job,” Douglas said. “I get to be an artist, but I get to feed my heart a little bit, too— by giving back to these communities.”

In the fall, he will work with the same creative team at the Red House Arts Center in downtown Syracuse. He will perform in three different shows, finishing out the year with the big role of Link Larkin in Hairspray. Douglas feels ready for the transition, thanks to years of training in the UMD Theatre Department.

“The Senior Musical Theatre class is so intense and so stressful at times, but it really does just prep you for being out there,” he said. “The class is designed to give you the tools that you need in order to demonstrate your abilities in a ton of different styles at a very short notice.”

Douglas appreciates the faculty’s genuine approach. “They’re honest, and they’re caring, and they give so much,” he said.

He also values the experience he had in collaboration with new directors. “Working with Michael Perreca during The Foreigner was just an amazing experience. He became a coach for me. I was also given another great opportunity to work on The Miracle Worker and take classes with Lee Gundersheimer,” Douglas said. "The fact that UMD brings in these guest directors, both from New York, is huge."

Douglas looks forward to the day his name is up in lights, and says none of this would be possible without his family.

“I wouldn't be able to pursue this career without the love and support of my family. I am incredibly grateful for them, and they're even planning to come out and see a few shows in New York.”

Written by Maeggie Licht, April 2012

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