For the Love of Theatre

By on October 2, 2018
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Acting, Music, Dance, Voice these are skills 2018 Greece Athena High School graduate Mark Mitrano takes with him as he begins his college studies working towards a career in musical theatre at the University of Michigan School of Music Theatre & Dance in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mitrano chose the University of Michigan because he said, “Their acting, vocal and dance programs are equally balanced. There is a genuine interest in the individual arts and in giving you the industry perspective on them. I attended their MPulse Musical Workshop in the summer of 2017 and I felt that was where I belonged, it is one big family and I felt welcomed.”

Growing up in Greece Mitrano took advantage of the many artistic programs that are available to students of the arts. “There were very, very many opportunities for me to pursue the arts growing up in Greece. Greece Athena has a beautiful Performing Arts Center for the theatre experience. I was fortunate to have my teacher Kathy Dyer take me under her wing. She taught me about performing, competition, how to audition and the importance  of always maintaining your nervous energy. I learned that if you become comfortable you are all done,” he said.

Through his experiences with competition Mitrano said he learned, “No one is really better than anyone else. Competition in the theatre is healthy. It is good for you to go in and show what you got. You are who you are and no one else is you. Everyone is different and unique. It is important to believe in yourself and if you aren’t chosen for a part it is because you were not what they were looking for at that moment. Experiences form actors. As you get older you relate to the performances in different ways based on your life experiences,” he said.

On stage acting is where Mitrano wants to be. He feels the emotions that go with the characters and is able to get into the moment of the character and lose himself. Even in very emotionally heavy parts he feels what the character is feeling. “It’s important to give the piece justice and to leave the audience with a valuable message. The thrill for me is in dissecting the text to find the human experience, and it is all in the acting. Acting is the foundation of the theatre. The song and the dance are there to express feelings and get you to that moment. Theatre with a message is what I believe in. Theatre and art are a reflection of life. It helps people to realize things about themselves. I just love the craft and feel it is about giving back and expecting nothing in return. The Arts serve the community,” he said. 

Mitrano is also an accomplished pianist, dancer and vocalist. He enjoys playing musical theatre and classical music on the piano. “I really enjoy all types of music including pop, rock and jazz and also some of the more contemporary styles of music,” he said. The Broadway play Dear Evan Hansen is his example of contemporary musical theatre with a powerful message. “I think everyone should see it,” Mitrano said.

Mitrano has been performing in the theatre since he was five years old, his first stage experience was in a production of Aladdin Jr. He has the ability to relate in his own way to all the characters he has played including Joseph in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Lumiere in Beauty & the Beast, Jinx in Forever Plaid, Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and his favorite Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. “I really had to start from scratch when playing Quasimodo. I try to find the bit of me in each character I play. With him I really had to search. It did leave a huge impact on me as an actor, the knowledge that all people are different in their own ways.”

fullsizerender-2Mitrano has received many Awards including 1st Place in Rochester Lyric Opera Vocal Competition, Selected twice to participate in the Rochester Broadway Theatre League “Stars of Tomorrow – NYC Bound Best Actor Competition, Rochester Music Hall of Fame Lowry Award Winner 2018, National Young Arts Foundation Winner and many more. He was Chosen in 2016 and 2018 to go to participate in the National High School Theatre Awards “Jimmy Awards” which included going to New York City and training with professionals. He was nominated to perform Quasimodo on a Broadway stage. About the experience Mitrano said, “Everyone is so supportive. You learn from professionals and the other students from all over the United States. It was the most fulfilling experience of my career so far.”

Academically Mitrano was a National Honor Society member and graduated with Valedictory honors.

About his future as an actor Mitrano said, “I just want to be a sustainable actor. To work in Theatre, TV, and Film. To do what I love to do and be able to make a living from my work, wherever it leads to, just to be sustainable.”