First-Year Focus: Peyton Reese


You already may have been lucky enough to see first-year student, Peyton Reese, on the Allaert stage in the first fall SAU main stage production of Big Fish. If not, this will definitely not be your only chance to watch this triple threat shine.

Her love for performing started when she was very young, but it wasn't until middle school that she finally took her talent to the stage. She has been in many productions since then. Her favorite role, to date, has been Diana in Davenport Central's Production of Next to Normal.

"I got to play a character that was entirely new to me, and I wasn't very comfortable with it at first. But with a little research, I found where I was going and who I wanted my character to be," she said.

Reese is from Park View, Iowa, and is an elementary education major with an endorsement in science. Even though she is not a theatre major, she still is very involved in the Department. Reese can sing, dance and act! Plus, she has a joyful, hard-working personality and a true love for performing.

This past summer, Reese competed in the Triple Threat competition at the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards, and she won.

"The competition was a really great experience and winning it was a complete surprise to me!" she said.

She then flew to New York City to compete at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy Awards.

"I got to learn from lots of Broadway professionals and got to share a huge Broadway stage with people who have the same passion for performing as I do," Reese said.

As soon as she set foot on the SAU campus, Reese was performing again. She was one of three first-year students to be cast in the musical, Big Fish, which is very impressive.

"Big Fish was a wonderful experience being that it was my first show here at Ambrose, and I was able to be a part of it with some new friends," Reese said. Reese was originally cast as a witch and an ensemble member.

Later, she was asked to take on another role: the role of an Alabama Lamb who danced her little heart out.

"Taking on the role was a lot of hard work," she said. "I had an amazing support system to support me and teach me what I was supposed to do."

Reese recently returned from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in which she was a finalist in the Musical Theatre Intensive competition. This gave her the opportunity to perform in the MTI Cabaret, which is composed of the top 20 MTI performers from of pool of over 300 students representing over 100 colleges and universities.

"Making the MTI Cabaret was a very cool experience because I got to perform with Quinnie Rodman (SAU first-year) and Joseph Lasher (SAU sophomore), and it was amazing to be a part of a select group of people that loved to perform just as much as we did," Reese said.

This summer, Reese will perform as the lead female character, Marian Paroo in Countryside Community Theater's production of The Music Man. The show will run from July 17-19 and 24-26.

The St. Ambrose Theatre Department is very happy to have a such a powerhouse in the Department and is waiting to see what Reese does next at SAU.


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