No Stage is Too Small for KSU Theatre Alumna

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 9, 2024

Musical theatre actress L鈥橭real Roach茅 cherishes overlooked moments of performing

No role is ever too small for KSU alumna , whether she is performing on a cruise line, a national tour, or at a local cabaret. The former Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS) student cherishes the moments that audiences may never see and the performances that some may consider small. 

headshot of Loreal Roche
No role is ever too small for KSU alumna L鈥橭real Roach茅. Photo by Patrick Marcigliano.

Roach茅 tried various other extracurricular activities growing up, but she always went back to musical theater. It was her calling. When she began to look for a college to call home, she found herself on KSU鈥檚 campus for a tour. It was then that she fell in love with the campus and theatre program. 

Roach茅 performed in various mainstage shows through the TPS program, but she found that her most memorable moments weren鈥檛 necessarily onstage. They were behind the scenes and in the classroom. 

鈥淸These experiences] gave me the freedom..of creating art,鈥 Roach茅 said. 鈥淚t helped me take myself out of the box鈥 Those are my favorite performances, even though they are the ones that people will never hear about.鈥

Roach茅 has a love for the process, and she learned that 鈥渨hen you do the work, the product shines through.鈥 This was a value instilled in her by her professors, who were all actively working in the professional theater world alongside teaching at KSU. 

The summer before she enrolled at KSU, Roach茅 attended the Summer Arts Intensive for Musical Theatre. It was at this intensive that she connected with her mentor and TPS faculty member and Coordinator of Musical Theatre, . Morgan taught Roach茅 that 鈥渂eing good isn鈥檛 good enough鈥 and that who you are matters so much more than what you can do in the theatre space.

Roach茅 holds Morgan鈥檚 advice close to heart and is passionate about being a positive force in her industry, as well as inspiring fellow performers of faith to embrace that side of themselves. 

鈥淚 just want to say鈥 especially to artists of faith鈥 that even if it doesn鈥檛 always seem possible, to just be you in that space,鈥 Roach茅 said. 鈥淏e the Jesus in your cast and be steadfast in that.鈥

Only four years out of the TPS program, Roach茅 has amassed an impressive resum茅 of experiences. She sailed the world performing as Anne Boleyn in the Norwegian Cruise Lines production of 鈥,鈥 and she is currently touring the country as Lisa with the of 鈥淢amma Mia!鈥

True to form, though, her favorite professional experience to date was something much closer to home. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, theaters were 鈥渂eing really, really creative, which was inspiring,鈥 as they sought out ways to remain open safely, according to Roach茅. She joined the cast of the 鈥檚 Drive-In Cabaret performances and embraced an atypical setup.

Provided by Cobb County, the stage was a semitruck that would pull out into a fully functioning stage, and the audience set up chairs or watched from their cars to be able to still enjoy the theater while remaining socially distant. This creative way of performing really inspired Roach茅, and it is one of her most meaningful performances. 

鈥淲hat people consider smaller roles or contracts really meant a lot and formed me,鈥 Roach茅 said. 鈥淸They] taught me that anything is possible.鈥

The 鈥渁nything鈥 that Roach茅 refers to spans many stages and genres of musical theatre. She accomplished her dream of performing on a cruise ship and is now fulfilling her next dream: a national tour. 

Moving from city to city can be exhausting, but the tour life is fulfilling to Roach茅 as she connects with people in places across the country. She didn鈥檛 know just how much she loved to travel until she began this tour.

鈥淚 love hearing people鈥檚 dreams and encouraging them,鈥 Roach茅 said. 鈥淎nd there鈥檚 something about the joy ['Mamma Mia'] brings to people鈥eeing people joyful is a serotonin blast for me for three straight hours.鈥

Roach茅 has already accomplished several of her dreams, and she remains curious and excited for what comes next. She doesn鈥檛 rush the future, though, and remains very next-step oriented. Whatever role she is in, she works to embrace the fullness of that experience and continue to become the best performer, and person, possible. 

鈥淲hen people see you being kind when you don鈥檛 want to be or keep going when you don鈥檛 feel like you have the strength鈥 it changes people, and it changes environments.鈥 Roach茅 said. 鈥淚t changes you, too.鈥 

--Kendall Chamberlain

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