Jackie Theoharis

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Jan. 24, 2012

Theoharis (bottom, center) in the Woodland Theater Company’s “Cabaret.”

College is a time to explore interests, pick a major and prepare for a career. For most of us, the subject we thought we would choose to study at the beginning of our college career is not the one we end up picking in the end. For Jackie Theoharis ’14, however, theater was a passion that she never thought twice about.

“I love sharing things with the audience. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to perform, to bring such enjoyment to all these different people,” said Theoharis in an interview with justArts. She has been performing all her life, and although she is only a sophomore, Theoharis is already branching out into professional theater companies in addition to performing on the Brandeis stage.

In a few days, Theoharis will be appearing in the Woodland Theater Company’s production of Cabaret. The musical takes place during the early days of Nazi Germany and centers around the Kit Kat Klub, a sleazy Berlin nightclub, and its performers and patrons. Theoharis plays Fräulein Kost, a prostitute who lives in a boarding house along with the Klub’s performers.

“She is … [an] interesting one,” said Theoharis of her character. “She’s supposed to be a lot older, so I was surprised and a little nervous when I was cast, because normally she’s played by a 30- or 35-year-old woman, but the director [Doug Hodge] had a different take on it. She’s a prostitute, and she loves sailors. She’s so funny; … there are so many scenes where you see me coming out of a man’s room with three sailors at a time, it’s ridiculous.” Kost is a German character and has some ties to the Nazi party, though this connection is rather understated in the play. Theoharis says that knowing some of her character’s subtler motivations made Kost more interesting, both to her and, she thinks, to the play’s audience.

Acting professionally and going to school full-time is not an easy task. “It’s busy,” says Theoharis. “It’s been crazy. Specifically for Cabaret, we’ve been rehearsing every day, so it’s a lot. I have classes all day and then rehearsal at night. I’ve been exhausted from dancing and everything. But it’s all definitely worth it, I think. You just get such a great experience.”

Theoharis has been involved in professional theater before. This summer, she performed with ReagalPlayers, a company located in Waltham, and she appeared in Turtle Lane Playhouse’s The Drowsy Chaperone. And this past fall, Theoharis sang and acted her way to a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for F.U.D.G.E. Theater Company’s Spring Awakening.The nomination comes from MyTheatre, a subset of My Entertainment WORLD, a website that covers arts performances and programs in Toronto, New York, Boston and occasionally other cities. In Awakening Theoharis played Ilse, a sexually abused student who runs away from home in late 19th-century Germany. My Theatre named 40 nominees in four divisions—National, Regional, Student and Other. Theoharis was nominated in the Regional category on Jan. 12.

Theoharis plays a Nazi prostitute in the production.

Theoharis has also performed at Brandeis. Her most recent role was Hope Cladwell inTympanium Euphorium’s Urinetown: the Musical. Fräulein Kost is quite a departure from the overly cheerful Cladwell, but Theoharis is prepared to encounter all types of roles in her theater experience. “Obviously [acting is] something that I’m so passionate about and something that I’ve been doing forever,” said Theoharis. “I definitely want to at least try to make it a career, but I know that it’s very difficult. In the theater business, … it’s all very emotionally intense, if you live your life auditioning and constantly getting rejected. It’s basically a career you have to go into knowing that you’re going to be rejected. But really it’s something that I would at least want to try to do.”

Theoharis has already proven herself to be a competent and committed performer, both at Brandeis and in the Boston theater scene. It will be exciting to see what she ends up doing in the future. Maybe someday we’ll even see her name in lights.

Cabaret is playing at the Lowell Mason Auditorium on 88 R South, Medfield, Mass. Jan. 27 and 28 at 8p.m. and Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30.

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