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Grady O'Shea stars in Whitworth production of "Go, Dog. Go!"

Grady O'Shea, '19, started performing in theatre productions during his senior year of high school, playing the character of Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical. After coming to Whitworth and auditioning for a show on campus, O' Shea decided to declare a double major in theatre and psychology.

O'Shea experienced theatre in New York City on a faculty-led Jan Term 2016 trip.

"While we were in New York, I got to meet Corbin Bleu [Broadway and film actor] and Mel B [U.K. pop star]," O'Shea says. "I also got to work with and meet tons of other amazing Broadway actors and technicians, and I even got to touch a Tony Award! It made me decide I absolutely want to move to NYC after I graduate."

O'Shea will be performing as M.C. Dog, the enthusiastic lead in Whitworth's spring production, Go, Dog. Go!, directed by Brooke Kiener, '99. The production will take place at the Bing Crosby Theater, in downtown Spokane, on March 10, 11 and 12. For more information, visit news.whitworth.edu/2017/02/whitworth-theatre-presents-go-dog-go.html.

"I am looking forward to all the interactions with kids in the audience," O'Shea says. "Go, Dog. Go! is a children's show, and because of that, it is different than anything most of us have tackled. I can't wait to play up the cheesiness of the show and watch the kids in the audience really engage with us on stage."

In preparation for productions, Whitworth Theatre balances work and play.

"With most colleges, there is either too much focus on getting things done without any time to really connect with each other, or the program is not taken seriously," O'Shea says. "At Whitworth, we are always getting pushed to do new things and grow without an overwhelming sense of condescension, which is actually rare in a theatre department."

However, theatre has its own challenges.

"The most challenging aspect of being a theatre major is keeping my energy as high as I can when I am working on something," O'Shea says. "College is exhausting, and sometimes it is difficult to stay present and happy and energized. Luckily, with this particular group of people, even if I am feeling down there is a contagiously fun atmosphere that can bring me right back up."

Spokane provides several opportunities for students to be involved in theatre off campus. O'Shea participated in a Spokane Civic Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast, playing aloof henchman Lefou.

"The auditions at Spokane Civic Theatre are fun and low stress, and they do a wide variety of shows with wide varieties of casting," O'Shea says.

Other venues include Ignite! Community Theatre, or Stage Left Theatre. There are also opportunities for improvisational theatre at the Blue Door Theater, in the Garland District.

"Theatre makes me feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be," O'Shea says. "It scares me sometimes thinking about my future in the business, as it can be less secure than other professions, but then I remember it is 100% worth the effort if I get to do what I love for the rest of my life."