Alumna takes center-stage in blogging and theater industry

Texas+State+alumna%2C+Maggie+Bera+%28center%29+performing+in+Texas+State%27s+production+of+%22Spelling+Bee%22+as+Maggie+Marcy+Park%2C+February+2016.+Bera+performed+in+%22Spelling+Bee%22+her+junior+year.+Photo+credit%3A+Photo+courtesy+of+Maggie+Bera

Texas State alumna, Maggie Bera (center) performing in Texas State's production of "Spelling Bee" as Maggie Marcy Park, February 2016. Bera performed in "Spelling Bee" her junior year. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Maggie Bera

Brianna Benitez

After years of auditions, rehearsals and show-stopping performances, alumna Maggie Bera is taking her experiences and sharing them with the theater industry.

Bera graduated from Texas State with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater May 2017. At the start of her final semester, Bera created her blog, “Actor Aesthetic,” which focuses on musical theater and her experiences. Bera said she wanted to use her industry knowledge in hopes of becoming a resource for those pursuing musical theater professionally.

“By sharing information that I learned along the way through personal experience and chats with colleagues, I have always hoped to bridge that gap for young artists,” Bera said.

Bera said the lack of information online for actors in the industry was a motivator in the development of her blog. On “Actor Aesthetic,” readers can find information on the logistics of auditions, where to find job listings, how to submit resumes and more.

Bera’s love for performing bloomed at a young age. During the ages 9-11, Bera said she performed the National Anthem at minor league baseball games throughout the tri-state area. Bera said she also had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem for the New York Mets and Philadelphia 76ers.

“I really caught the theater and performing bug early on,” Bera said. “I’ve always wanted to be a performer—it’s always been my love.”

Bera is currently based in New York City and has performed regionally for several productions including “The Little Mermaid” in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, “The World According to Snoopy” in Houston and “Peter Pan” in Mansfield, Connecticut.

Bera said her favorite part of performing is the ability to tell stories. She said she finds enjoyment in being able to dress up as a completely different person for each show as well as fueling a connection with her audience.

“I love telling stories and I feel as actors, it is our job to tell a story as truthfully as possible with as much integrity to the author as possible,” Bera said.

From ages 11-18, Bera said she trained with Papermill Playhouse, a regional theater in New Jersey. For eight years, Bera said she participated in the theater’s Musical Theatre Summer Conservatory, a program that trains students on all aspects of musical theater.

Bera said her involvement in Papermill Playhouse ignited her passion for musical theater.

“Every single year I got more interested in pursuing this as a career, so by the time I was (a) senior I knew I had to go to school for this and pursue this professionally,” Bera said.

In 2013, Bera auditioned for Texas State’s musical theater program and other universities in Chicago at the Unified Auditions, a form of musical theater auditions where multiple programs hold auditions for incoming classes.

Although Bera is from New Jersey, she said she was drawn to Texas State’s program due to award-winning actress, director and educator, Kaitlin Hopkins, who created the program in 2009.

After performing for Texas State’s program, Bera said she was accepted into the program on the spot, an experience that rarely happens during the audition process.

“It was unlike anything I had ever experienced,” Bera said. “It was an absolute dream.”

Hopkins said she went into the audition process knowing what kind of class she wanted to build for her program. After seeing Bera and two other students perform, Hopkins said she knew she had to offer each of them a spot.

“I jumped on that opportunity and made offers on the spot hoping that they would say yes and all three of them did,” Hopkins said.

When creating Texas State’s program Hopkins said she developed it in a holistic approach, meaning the program focuses on training students in mental wellness, vocal health, physical health and nutrition. She said the program also focuses on business aspects of the industry, such as how students should read contracts, information on national tours and how students can build their social media presence.

“Our curriculum is what performing artists need to enter the market,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the musical theater program not only focuses on raising good artists but also good people. Hopkins said she is proud Bera is giving back to other artists.

“Maggie took all of her innate gifts, as a person and as a performer, and everything that she’s learned here and she’s giving back to her community,” Hopkins said. “I think that speaks a great deal to her character and the person and professional that she is.”

Cassie Abate has been the head of the dance area for Texas State’s musical theater program for eight years. Abate said Bera was one of the hardest working students in the program and is an energetic yet nuanced performer with incredible skills in all areas.

“She’s very good at interpreting the story, conveying character and expressing character through whatever medium she’s utilizing,” Abate said.

Abate said Bera’s blog is a great resource for aspiring performers because Bera features content that cannot be taught in a university setting, such as discussing her personal experiences in the industry.

“She always comes up with really amazing, not only insightful but creative solutions to common problems actors face today,” Abate said. “She’s able to take things that may seem daunting or unknown to performers and really makes it accessible and relatable.”

To further her outreach in the theater industry, Bera launched her podcast in November 2018 as an extension of her blog under the same name. On the podcast, Bera interviews special guests, such as individuals working on Broadway to individuals performing on national tours.

Bera said her podcast is also a platform where she provides tips on how actors can submit to casting directors, how they can get an agent and even tips on how to audition for college programs.

For more information about Bera, visit https://www.actoraesthetic.com/ or follow her on Instagram @actoraesthetic. The “Actor Aesthetic” podcast is available on Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher.

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