Arts and Culture

The finest kind of dreamer

Maryland native dreams and works


SUMMARY: Casey Martin Klein has a dream to take the Broadway stage by storm first as an actor and then as a director, and he's hopeful that he can use theater as a means to change the way people view the world.

Casey Martin Klein is a big dreamer with the work ethic to back it up.

“My five-year plan is to replace somebody in a Broadway show, then star in a Broadway show written for me that I win a Tony for, and the 10-year plan is to then go to graduate school, get my MFA, go back to Broadway to direct, and win a Tony for directing.”

Spend some time around Klein, and you get the distinct impression that he may make his dream come true. And that JMU has had a significant impact on him.

“My dream is to work on Broadway,” the senior musical theatre major says. “I have been auditioning for Broadway already this year. It’s been going OK. I’m moving to New York City in September, and my dream is to be able to use the tools that I’ve acquired here at JMU to sustain my career professionally in a big environment such as New York.”

A veteran of the stage who started ballet at age 6 and performed in his first musical at age 9, Klein’s JMU acting and directing resume is spectacular.

Highlights include roles in Assassins and 35-Millimeter, the lead role in The Wild Party, and also directing stints that included the musical Dogfight.

The Wild Party “was the biggest theatrical role I’ve undertaken,” he says. “It was just a ton of work, and I was so grateful to have already taken all the requisite JMU classes that helped me be able to prepare myself for the acting, dancing and singing that it took to do that role. It was physically and mentally demanding, and I was so well-prepared for it.”

Two summers of intern experience with Flat Rock Theatre in North Carolina — which he credits JMU for helping him land — have set Klein up nicely for what’s coming next.

So has his other classroom experience at JMU, Klein says.

“I took this ethical reasoning class as part of General Education, and the key questions that we studied there made a profound impact on me,” he says, adding that it’s come up in every one of his JMU classes. It’s also “provided me with the tools to extract certain concepts and ideas from a much broader world view than I had before.

“I have had more opportunities and have gotten more experience here than I ever thought was possible in college,” he says. “I thought college would be where you work until your junior or senior year when you might get a couple of roles, but that has not been the case at all at JMU. The musical theatre program here is set up so that freshman through senior year, you are able to have opportunities to perform and direct if you have the desire and the work ethic.”

Klein knows that awards make careers last, yet he says his greatest dream goes beyond awards.

“I have continued to be inspired to keep doing theater because I know that the course of my action — my writing, directing and performing — may some day be able to influence what is going on in the country and in the world,” he says. “I guess what it all boils down to is that I want to make a difference.”

Big dreams and the chops to make them come true.

Klein and fellow JMU actors Sky Wilson (left) and Sierra Carlson each garnered No. 1 ratings during the 2017 Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Klein and fellow JMU actors Sky Wilson (left) and Sierra Carlson each garnered No. 1 ratings during the 2017 Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017

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