While many St. Ambrose University Theatre Department alumni move to theatre meccas such as Chicago or Minneapolis after graduation, 2009 graduate, Steph DeLacy, always knew she wanted to stay close to home.
And, while some may have doubted the likelihood of a choreographer finding full-time work in the area, DeLacy has proven that with hard work and dedication, making your own way can be accomplished anywhere, especially in the booming theatre scene that is the Quad Cities.
DeLacy is originally a native of Clinton, Iowa, and chose to call SAU home after applying as a pre-Physical Therapy student. However, that particular major did not stay for long.
"I ended up going through five majors before making my way to Theatre," DeLacy said. "It was the only thing that felt 'right' and 'like home.' I also really connected with Cory, Kris, and Mike (Kennedy) and knew that the Theatre program was where I belonged."
Throughout her tenure at St. Ambrose University, DeLacy found joy performing in productions such as Stop Kiss, Rabbit Hole, and Sweeney Todd. While each of these shows challenged her as an actress, it was the children's show her senior year that made DeLacy truly step outside her comfort zone.
"Seussical was our children's show my senior year and my first time stage managing," DeLacy said. "I absolutely LOVED it, and learned so much through the process. Kris essentially took me under his wing, because I had no idea what I was doing, and it was one of the best experiences I've had to date."
Steph DeLacy '09
Currently working as a choreographer specializing in musical theatre and show choir. "I absolutely love what I'm doing and cannot imagine doing anything else."
Now, post-graduation, DeLacy has taken the skills she learned in class and in rehearsals and works as a choreographer (and occasional director!) who specializes in musical theatre and show choir. In total, DeLacy works with eight area high schools and two community theatres choreographing numerous shows each year. Additionally, she just started offering private tap lessons both in person and online.
When not choreographing for lessons or a production, you can find DeLacy working on her newest project, "Double Threat: The Podcast."
"My close friend, Megan (who is a vocal coach and music director) and I were brainstorming ideas for a musical theatre podcast before COVID hit, and in April we decided to start 'Double Threat: The Podcast,'" DeLacy said. "Each episode, we select a theme and choose a musical to represent said theme. We talk about the shows themselves, the process from workshopping to Broadway, the actors, show gossip, and even delve into audition and production tips, from our experiences. Initially, it was just something we started to fill the time. However, we've now released 23 episodes via SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music and have listeners across the country, and a few overseas! It's been such a fun way to connect with people in a time when live theater isn't an accessible option."
"...Your dream at 22 doesn't have to be your dream at 23, or 25, or 30. Dreams change and evolve and that's okay! I thought my job at 22 was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and at 27, I was completely burnt out. I'm 33 now and absolutely love what I'm doing and cannot imagine doing anything else."
Steph DeLacy, Class of 2009
It is easy to see that DeLacy has definitely stayed busy in her years after SAU. She thanks both Cory and Kris for "pushing her with love" towards opportunities she originally did not think she was "good enough" for and credits the SAU Theatre Department for helping her realize she was braver than she gave herself credit for.
DeLacy has undoubtedly thrived in the Quad City theatre scene and shared three points of advice to anyone hoping to pursue a career in the arts someday.
"First, check your ego at the door. There is always an opportunity to learn, no matter how experienced you may be," DeLacy said. "Second, if something doesn't serve you, whether it be a show, a job offer, or a mentorship, it's okay to say no. And lastly, your dream at 22 doesn't have to be your dream at 23, or 25, or 30. Dreams change and evolve and that's okay! I thought my job at 22 was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and at 27, I was completely burnt out. I'm 33 now and absolutely love what I'm doing and cannot imagine doing anything else."
In conclusion, DeLacy is a wonderful example of working hard to accomplish your dreams. The Department is proud of all the work she does for the Quad City community, and cannot wait until theaters are able to reopen, so everyone can see her brilliant choreography brought to life once again.