[media-credit name=”Christopher Shenefelt” align=”alignright” width=”300″]<img class="size-medium wp-image-28347" titl
e=”image” src=”http://www.wsusignpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/image-300×199.jpeg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”199″ />[/media-credit]Chris Shenefelt, 23, is an aspiring actor at Weber State University. He was born and raised in South Ogden and is a graduate of Bonneville High School. He’s currently working on a Bachelor of Arts in acting/directing with a minor in neuroscience.
Shenefelt also works as a stage manager for the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, as well as at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville. He said he has a passion for theater, though his introduction caught him off guard.
“It was all accidental, actually,” Shenefelt said. “I auditioned for the choir at my high school, but someone registered me for theater by mistake, so when I moved on to high school the following year, I was thrust into this world I honestly had no idea existed. I didn’t even know what a musical was, or, at least, I had never properly encoded the world of musical theater into my brain. From then on, I was obsessed.”
This obsession drove him to the WSU theater arts program. He said he’s quite enthusiastic about his studies.
“The opportunities that we get to have as students in the program are outstanding. Our faculty and staff in the theater department are phenomenal — top of their crafts. Students have the opportunity to stage-manage, design — sets, lights, costumes, props, et al.”
He went on in his praise, saying, “Students also have the opportunity to direct and produce a full stage musical every other spring. Not to mention opportunities to write our own shows and have them produced, and nigh on endless opportunities to perform in all of these productions. Not a lot of other undergrad programs in Utah — the nation, even — get the opportunities we have here. Most students elsewhere wouldn’t have the chance to design a show until grad school.”
While he said the program is fantastic, Shenefelt also said he wasn’t quite prepared for the time commitment involved.
“I always knew it was very time-consuming, but never realized it fully, and not a lot of people understand what goes into one single production,” he said. “I’ve spent the night at the theater before, because, by 4 a.m., what’s the point of going home when you have to be back at 8 a.m. for your full day of rehearsal?”
Shenefelt said he encourages all who are interested in the program to give it a try, but prefaces the invitation with this warning: “Make sure you’re passionate about it. It’s definitely a challenging field of study, but there are many facets wherein you can find a career path.”
Shenefelt’s favorite shows include “Assassins,” “The Light in the Piazza” and “Sleepy Hollow.” He said he hopes students and graduates alike will support the arts by coming to see local productions.
“I would just give a friendly nudge for people to come out and support the arts at Weber State University, as well as local theaters: the Terrace Plaza Playhouse, the Ziegfeld Theater and CenterPoint Legacy Theatre,” Shenefelt said. “They’re all within 20 minutes of campus.”