Professor Neil Marrin: Cue Center Stage
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” says Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management Professor Neil Marrin. And for Neil, a richer life began when he took center stage.
Though many professors encourage students to look beyond the conventional to find a passion, not many are able to embrace that advice quite so literally as Neil. His passion for theatre dates back to his early childhood—a passion that was cultivated and encouraged by his mother. “My passion for theatre began as an audience member—I was very lucky to grow up in New York with a mother who loved theatre and shared that love with me.”
In high school and college, Neil took theatre courses but admits that after college he left theatre for a while, instead pursuing a career in industry with parks and recreation. It was not until Neil came to JMU and learned about the Schultz Theatre, a non-profit theatre company in New Market, that he realized he wanted to return to the stage. He explains, “I knew I needed to do this because I had not acted since college. I needed to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone to truly be happy.”
Now, Neil is a regular performer and soon to be producer at the Schultz Theatre. His most recent role as Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof was a very special role for Neil. He explains, “When I was about 12 or so at day camp, we had a talent show and I sang ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ from The Fiddler on the Roof. From that day on my dream was to play Tevye. So it must have been meant to be.”
For Neil, theatre is not only applicable on stage. When asked how theatre relates to teaching, Neil says, “Education should be transformational, and acting is transformational. You need to make your classroom a living and exciting thing, so I think my love of teaching and my love of theatre come together that way—I want to capture a student’s attention the same way I want to capture an audience’s attention.”
In addition to helping as a volunteer actor, Neil recognizes that his background in industry has also helped the Schultz Theatre. Recently, Neil has taken a position as a board member for Schultz Theatre. He says, “It has been great bringing my non-profit experience to the organization. Theatres cannot function and survive without a business approach, and I am proud that I am using my knowledge to help keep the theatre alive and thriving.”
Looking forward, Neil is preparing to step behind the curtain to produce a show this spring called Jekyll and Hyde The Musical. He encourages any one with a passion for theatre to volunteer at the Schultz Theatre and begin auditioning for shows.
For more information on shows and auditions at the Schultz Theatre, please visit: http://www.schultztheatre.com.