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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST musical theatre alumna takes on the big screen in new television series

Illustration by Devon Crew

In a testament to the power of dreams and determination, Texas State alumna Ana Yi Puig has soared to stardom in her role in Disney’s ‘Goosebumps’ adaptation series. Graduating in 2020, Puig’s journey reinforces all Bobcats, current and former, are poised to be the rising stars of show business.

Puig will be taking on the role as Isabella Chen-Lopez in the horror comedy based on the nostalgic R.L. Stine book series. Starring alongside actor Justin Long, she takes on her first live action, serialized television show.

Although Puig isn’t able to disclose any information on her journey with the show due to the current SAG-AFTRA strike, colleagues of hers from Texas State were ecstatic to discuss how the actress’ talent and past performance as a musical theatre student has made her more than deserving of this success.

“When Ana first came in she was a little quiet, although she was always extremely talented,” Kaitlin Hopkins, founder of Texas State’s Musical Theatre program, said. “I really saw her growth here [through] her confidence and comedic ability. She is wickedly funny as a person. Watching her understand and figure out how to utilize what is unique and extraordinary about her, and using that in her work, was really wonderful to watch.”

Along with Hopkins, co-head of musical theatre Tom Delbello, was thrilled she has translated her experience to on-camera work.

“[Puig] was such an exciting actor on stage, always bringing so much originality to everything,” Delbello said. “You know when you have Ana in a cast that is somebody who is going to come in and hold space for everybody else. Immediately, [she’s] someone who wants to be a part of an ensemble, a team.”

Texas State’s Musical Theatre Department has been tailored to ensure students are built for a big break.

“It’s our responsibility as teachers of performing artists to nurture our students and their talent both in and outside of the classroom,” Hopkins said. “The profession of show business is inherently difficult and has a lot of challenges. If you can support artists while they’re in school and nurture them, it helps them when they go into the professional industry.”

The department credits their “big-little” program as the one facet that helps fresh talent in getting recognized in the acting industry, as well as preparing them for the reality of it. The mentorship of student-to-student, later graduate-to-alumni, has skyrocketed already talented artists, to recognition.

“It bridges that gap in a way that is so beneficial for a student to have when they leave here,” Delbello said. “The idea is you have a network of people who know your work, and you know theirs. It’s so helpful to have people who are already going through the experience and have learned along the way.”

For Texas State performance and production students, it comes as no surprise Puig has accomplished so much three years post graduation.

“The whole department is incredibly talented,” Emily Cook, technical production sophomore, said. “I’m always blown away by the shows. Come see us at work and you won’t be surprised at all that a Bobcat got a role like this.”

A sense of inspiration has surged among current students that hope to one day follow in Puig’s footsteps.

“It really does show we are training them in musical theatre, but we [also] give them on-camera classes, experience and workshops,” Delbello said. “It’s showing the multitude of things that students can do. They know as artists ‘Hey I’m here to train to do musical theatre, but I’m also gonna be able to translate that into other mediums’ and Ana truly is showing us that.”

‘Goosebumps’ debuted on Hulu and Disney+ on Oct. 13, with its first five episodes, and is now available for streaming with new episodes every Friday.

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