Learning your type in the entertainment industry is not an easy lesson for many young performers. This is especially true if you are already being cast as the 'older woman' or 'witty sidekick' at 13 years old. A wise professor once told me, at the ripe age of 20, that moving to New York City after graduating with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre would be a mistake. He told me that as a character actress my time will come and that I am too young to play the roles I am right for. These words were not easy to hear and took time to accept, but it helped me shape my future. Knowing I had time to spare before pursuing a professional career as a performer, I have been teaching theatre in middle and high school to inspire other students to refine their craft and continue their own path to a career in the theatre industry. I also got married and started a family, so by the time I am ready to pursue a career as a professional actress, my children will be older and more independent and not need mommy around 100% of the time. This also gives me plenty of time to research and continue to perform (as my teaching schedule allows) for when that time comes. It occurred to me I should explore those mature women roles and create a one-person cabaret titled Just a Number: A Cabaret Exploring the Roles My Age Prevents Me From Playing. I wanted to explore and develop performance roles I will age into. This cabaret allowed me the opportunity to explore those roles, but also how my life has and will continue to prepare me to play these strong characters. Most of the characters have gone through major life experiences. By the time I am at the right age to tackle those roles professionally, I will have already experienced marriage, motherhood, loss of loved ones, moving jobs and homes, and who knows what else! Those experiences will allow me to bring more life and authenticity to the roles that this cabaret featured. I also took a moment to reflect on my career as a young performer who was not the right type for roles I was up for. This was a tough reality to accept as a young performer, and I came to terms with that truth; taking a moment to poke fun at that time in my career added some levity to a potentially heavy subject that many actors must face. For the material, I looked at the works of major musical theatre composers and lyricists whose material features strong female characters of a certain age. I incorporated songs that chronicle the life of a character actress and highlight major life events that someone my age needs to go through to truly understand what the character has experienced.


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Graduation Date





Weaver, Earl


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program





CFE0007915; DP0023049





Release Date

May 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)