CELEBRATE! Profile: Ethan Andersen '14
The music theatre major from New Orleans is the creative force behind "HeadVoice," an original production that opens Thursday in Box Black Theatre for four performances.
By Erin M. Turner '15
A student-directed and choreographed musical production written by an Elon College Fellow makes its debut Thursday with themes of love, loss, and "growing up with voices inside your head."
“HeadVoice,” which runs May 1-3 in Black Box Theatre at 7:30 p.m. each night and also at 2 p.m. on May 3, serves as the thesis project for senior music theatre major Ethan Andersen. His endeavor is the latest to be featured in a series of E-net stories on research and creative productions featured during CELEBRATE! Week 2014.
Admission: $13 or Elon ID. Reservations are highly recommended and will be taken by the Black Box Theatre at (336) 278-5650.
“This project was really interesting to me because I had to really figure out what research was,” Andersen said. “Music theater major research is very different than scientific research, so it was all about going to see theater and listening to my favorite musicals and getting myself to write on days that I wasn’t so inspired.”
Andersen refers to the musical as his life experiences, dramatized for the stage for what he calls to be an “autobioficionary.” The show follows a young composer learning about, love, loss, and growing up with the help from the voices in his head.
Andersen started writing the musical while attending the Newman School in New Orleans. “I had started to write these really awful anxiety-emo songs about my life, and when I became an Elon Fellow and found out that we had to create a project, I immediately fell in love with the idea of turning these songs into a show,” he said.
With the support of faculty mentors Lynne Kurdziel Formato and Rick Church, and Jack Smith providing costume and scenic design, the show features a cast of four talented music theatre majors including Andersen, who plays the piano onstage.
“The main character is a boy, quite like myself, who is exploring everything that has happened to him in his life thus far, and putting that into music with the help of the voices in his head,” Andersen said.
Those voices are models of Freud’s id, ego superego. Andersen explains that he uses the id as a very childish and sexually driven desire, the ego as his own reality, and the superego as society and rules.
Andersen said he hopes his audiences are inspired to be creative. “Everyone’s creative process is different,” he said, “and if I can inspire one person to be creative I have done my job.”
After graduating from Elon University on May 24, Andersen moves to western North Carolina for the summer to direct productions at Flat Rock Playhouse. He'll relocate to New York City in the fall to pursue a performance career.
CELEBRATE! Is Elon University’s annual, weeklong celebration of student achievements in academics and the arts. For more information, visit elon.edu/celebrate.