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Theater student Annie Booth impresses on stage and off

Stage names — it’s something many celebrities have created to convince Hollywood they belong there. However, some people are simply born with memorable names that roll off the tongue. Annie Booth is one of these people.

Booth is a senior theater student, and, over a cup of coffee, my friend admits to me her concern about the negative stereotypes of theater majors.

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“I was a little worried about majoring in theater,” Booth said. “I know some of my family was thinking ‘What are you going to do with that?’, and I get a lot of those typical kinds of responses when I tell people what I’m studying, like, ‘Oh that’s a nice hobby on the side, but what’s your real plan?’”

But, she knew since a young age that performing was her passion.

“It’s so sad when some people have a talent or passion and don’t go for it, they think they can never actually do it,” she said. “That’s why I constantly reminded myself even when it was tough that this is what I love, and even if I make very little money, it’s still something I enjoy and want to pursue.”

So, pursue she has. It all started with an audition at CSU, where, in addition to winning a first-year scholarship, she found a program that could nurture her talent and help her grow as a performer.

“I really connected with the faculty and the students, and I knew that they could help me pursue my dreams,” Booth said.

An outsider may think of theater classes as nothing more than students running around reciting Shakespeare. But, as Booth talks about her curriculum, I quickly realize all the work this dedicated student has had to put in. With classes such as Professional Actress Preparation, Stage Craft and Stage Management under her belt, it’s no wonder she feels she’s gained confidence and skill during her time here.

Booth was also enrolled in Advance Acting last spring with Dr. Laura Jones, a professor in CSU’s Theatre Department. Before Booth ever enrolled in the course, though, Jones had what she referred to as the “distinct pleasure” of directing Booth in “A Christmas Story” in 2012.

“She played the perfect wife and mother,” Jones said. “While the part was written as a stereotypical stay-at-home ‘cook and bottle washer’ character, Annie instilled a willful, dedicated spirit in what otherwise could have been a fairly flat, two-dimensional role. … I definitely witnessed her growth as a performer and as a person during the time Annie spent on that production.”

According to Jones, when she actually had the chance to teach Booth in a class setting, she continued to be more impressed by the young actress.

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“By the time I had her in class 18 months later, her maturity was even more in evidence,” Jones said. “She tackles every role with total commitment to the character’s objectives. She thoroughly researches the back story of her roles within the worlds of the plays. She finds touchstones in her own life to relate and empathize. And her work ethic is exemplary. She rehearses at length and in depth.  She is fearless and willing to go to the core of a character’s soul and invest her own energies and emotions in telling another’s story, experiencing another’s emotions, and fighting another’s battles both internally and externally.”

Booth has been involved in numerous stage productions, the last of which wrapped in March. Booth played the lead role of Madame Rosepettle in “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad.”

Jack Krause, a friend and classmate of Booth’s, co-starred as her husband in this production, in addition to working with her on “A Year with Frog and Toad” for which Booth was an assistant director.

“(As an assistant director) she offered insight into the characters, and often reassured us when we had our doubts,” Krause said. “More often than not, though, she was a clerical professional, always keeping us on top of our game.”

Outside of her studies, Booth is involved in Young Producer’s Organization and has held officer positions in her sorority, Kappa Delta.

“We are both very active members of our chapter,” said Emma Webster, vice president of finance for Kappa Delta. “Annie has held many positions in Kappa Delta over her four years here, and has been able to make such a positive impact on our chapter. Right now she holds the position of Sunshine Chair. This position is responsible for bringing positive vibes into all of our meetings and activities and for putting a little sunshine in people’s day. So this position is perfect for Annie, who makes everyone smile wherever she goes.”

After graduation, Booth plans to enjoy her summer vacation before heading down to Disney World this fall to begin working as a stage makeup artist for the Pirates League.

Collegian A&E Writer Erica Grasmick can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @E_Graz_.

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