We caught up with one of our past ArtsBridge Summer students, Jordan Plutzer, to find out how he was doing in his first semester, and to ask if he had any advice for students about to attend their college auditions. Jordan is now a freshman in musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon University.
When we spoke, Jordan was sitting in his dorm room, which he and his roommate have affectionately dubbed “the bunker.” The room is decorated with strung lights, concert pictures that Jordan’s father took, San Francisco Giants memorabilia, posters of movies that Jordan and his roommate mutually enjoy, as well as pictures of family and friends.
Jordan is close with his roommate, Eric, another musical theatre student: “Eric is intelligent, quirky, hilarious, and humble. He is the Leo Bloom to my Max Bialystock.”
At Carnegie Mellon, Jordan has a 9-5 daily schedule packed with acting classes. He said the first semester, so far, has been months “of adjustment, hard work, self-analyzing and a lot of mind-blowing observations.”
Here’s more from our conversation with Jordan, including his tips for surviving the college audition process:
What is your freshman year at Carnegie Mellon like?
Utterly mind-blowing. Part of it is like being a big fish dropped into a tank with a bunch of other big fish and being asked to swim. You have to learn to adjust to your new surroundings and thrive in them.
What is your favorite thing about college thus far?
The people. I love my class, the upperclassmen, and all of my teachers. I am inspired every day by the work I see from my peers. I get jittery and overjoyed when I watch my friends sing their hearts out or perform a scene. It’s the best kind of peer pressure. I see my friends do well and it inspires me to do the same quality work.
My teachers are zany, wise, and personable. Each one pays close attention to you and wants to make sure you are getting the most out of being here. The love I feel here is too great to describe. It’s home and it’s family.
Can you tell us more about the Carnegie Mellon faculty? What have you learned from them?
My program is led by incredible faculty who really understand the truth behind what it means to be present and alive in your acting. Things you thought weren’t possible become plausible. It’s hard work. It’s frustrating at times because you think you’re there and present in your acting, but then you find yourself hitting a wall. Freshman year is about breaking down that wall one brick at a time.
Any recent performances you can tell us about?
My dad came to visit and I took him to see Seven Guitars here at CMU. Everything in that show—from the lighting to the set to the acting—was mind-numbingly good. My senior “big brother,” Harron, was one of the leads. It gave me a shimmer of pride to see Harron transform into such a dynamic and boldly created character. The show was phenomenally acted. I saw where I could be in four years.
After the show, my dad told me something I will never forget. He said, “Now I know why I’m sending you here.”
Could you tell us about your experience at ArtsBridge Summer 2013?
I owe a lot of my success at college auditions to ArtsBridge Summer. The program puts you in front of amazing faculty from top-level programs. It gives you a sense of what college is like. It definitely acts as a springboard to jumpstart your college audition process.
So what was auditioning like, once the real ones rolled around?
I found it fun. Yes, some college auditions I left feeling horrible, but those were the outliers. For the most part, auditioning was fun! I got to do what I love for people who wanted to get to know me as an artist. It’s a rare opportunity! ArtsBridge Summer definitely taught me to enjoy auditioning more. I was at ease and confident walking into college auditions thanks to ArtsBridge.
What was it like working with Halley Shefler?
Halley is a fairy godmother, a friend, a mentor, and a motivator. She is a wonderful woman who is dedicated to each and every ArtsBridge student. I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for me.
Would you recommend ArtsBridge Summer?
Absolutely. If you want to be ready for college auditions while working with fabulous faculty and dedicated students, this is the place for you. It’s a great environment.
If you could go back to your junior year of high school, what advice would you give yourself about the upcoming college audition and application process?
Be confident in your abilities and have faith. That’s all that matters.
Besides attending ArtsBridge Summer, Jordan did college audition preparation work with Betty Schneider for voice coaching and Susan Woodell-Mascall for acting. Betty will be the Artistic Director at ArtsBridge Summer Starter Edition this year in San Francisco. Find out more here.