First Year Focus Nyssa Wagner


This semester, St. Ambrose has a wonderful group of first-year students hard at work on various projects. One of the them stepping into the spotlight this month is Nyssa Wagner. Currently, Wagner is assistant stage managing for Tartuffe and a work-study student in the Galvin Fine Arts Center scene shop.

Hometown: Evergreen Park, Illinois
Major: Human Performance and Fitness

How did you first become involved in theatre?
I've always been in theatre since I was in kindergarten, but I started doing ‘professional' musicals when I was in fifth grade, which started with a production of Honk! Jr. Then, I got hooked. After that, I did a musical every year until I graduated.

What is your favorite theatre memory?
This past summer, I was in a production of Shrek at my high school, and it was a kid's cast. As a graduate, I was able to take care of all the little kids in their roles. So, I got to develop my love for helping children. Being able to be in it was also a lot of fun.

What has been your favorite role?
My favorite role was during my sophomore year of high school when I was a Priscilla girl named Cora in Thoroughly Modern Millie. I loved this role because it was my first big(ish) role as a teenager. I got to wear a mic for the first time and wear a ton of costumes. It was also the second time I had done the show, and it was amazing to see how far I'd come in theatre.

What is your favorite show?
My favorite show would have to be either Thoroughly Modern Millie or The Addams Family. Millie was my first big production, and I feel that the music can really help a person with any mood they are in. I know it sure has helped me. Millie was also one of my uncle's favorite shows, and unfortunately, he passed away on the night of the performance I was in and was unable to see it. But, I know he would have loved all the hard work we put into it.

With The Addams Family, I love how it shows that it's okay to be different, and that it's better to be yourself than to try to please everybody else. Plus, I happen to be a sucker for light and dark comedy, and this musical has a great mix of both.

What is your favorite thing about the St. Ambrose Theatre Department?
I really enjoy the people here because they remind me a lot of my high school and the theatre departments I was in while growing up.

nyssa wagner

Nyssa Wagner

Major: Human Performance and Fitness

"After graduation, I would love to go to graduate school and earn my Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. After that, my goal is to become a pediatric occupational therapist in either an elementary school or hospital."

What are you most excited for at St. Ambrose?
I'm excited to see how I grow into what I'm studying and how I adjust to things as they come.

What do you want to do after you graduate?
After graduation, I would love to go to graduate school and earn my Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. After that, my goal is to become a pediatric occupational therapist in either an elementary school or hospital. I'd also love to help around the recreational department where I'll live, whether it be with coaching youth sports or helping with music.

What are you hoping to do within the SAU Theatre Department?
I definitely see myself hopefully working on stage and backstage. I hadn't worked backstage before Tartuffe, but so far, I'm having a lot of fun with it. But, I do kind of miss being on stage.

How has your assistant stage management experience for Tartuffe been so far?
At first it was stressful considering I didn't know what an assistant stage manager was. However, my stage manager [senior Kendall McKasson] has helped me learn how to organize my thoughts and how to pay close attention to the little things in the script.

What is your favorite aspect of working in the scene shop?
I like to work with my hands a lot, so I've always been part of art. I like the painting aspect because I did crew in high school. I feel like this is a step up because now I get to see how my work can be part of a bigger production. I'm going from a theatre of 400 people to a theatre of our [SAU's] size. I enjoy the amount of time we get to spend in the shop and how we get to choose what hours we want to work as long as we reach our minimum.

Do you have any favorite memories in the Theatre Department so far?
Going to downtown Chicago over winter break with the Theatre Appreciation Club is definitely my favorite memory so far!

Are you involved in any other clubs or sports at SAU?
In the beginning of the school year, I played soccer, and I am involved in the S.A.A.T [Sexual Assault Awareness Team], Theatre Appreciation Club, and Dance Marathon.

The Department is looking forward to seeing more of Wagner's work and is anticipating her debut on the Allaert Auditorium stage! The SAU Theatre Department wishes her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.

If you're interested in supporting Wagner and the SAU Theatre Department, make sure to see Tartuffe on April 12, 13 or 14.


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