ArtPlay Theater Camps featured Marissa Hebson at the UAB Theater. She is now a graduate in musical theater.
ArtPlayopened the door to a musical theater degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham for Marissa Hebson.
Hebson, from Pinson, Ala, was in seventh grade when she enrolled in a two-week musical theater camp presented by Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center at UAB. The following year, this camp program was integrated into ArtPlay, the arts education initiative of the Alys Stephens Center.
First as a camper, then as a camp counselor and manager, Hebson attended the ArtPlay summer theater camps. She is now a graduate of UAB, playing the role of Peter in “Peter Pan” with the Springville Community Theater, July 25-28, and on her way to a job with the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida.
“I really believe that I wouldn’t be the performer or the person I am today without ArtPlay,” Hebson said.
His first ArtPlay camp was “Once on This Island Jr.,” performed live at the ASC Sirote Theater. The Sirote Theater is also home to the UAB Theater, the performance ensemble of the Theater Department of the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. For Hebson’s subsequent camps at ArtPlay, she played Millie in “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.” and starred in “Fame Jr.” and “Legally Blonde Jr.”
Hebson was a camp counselor at ArtPlay for three summers, supervising young campers as they learned to sing and dance while playing, then was a stage manager the following summer, making sure every element of a room was ready. for the show. She also had the opportunity to work on her creative side and help develop a choreography, and essentially become a director in training.
Thanks to ArtPlay, Hebson says, it was presented at the Alys Stephens Center. She always thought she would go to UAB. So when Valerie Accetta, MFA, Head of Musical Theater for UAB’s Theater Department, called Hebson back at the Southeastern Theater Conference to talk about the program, she was already hooked, she said, “because I knew the facilities of the UAB.
“My family are huge Blazer fans as well, so college has always been a big part of my life,” Hebson said. “Valerie and the rest of the faculty and staff in the Department of Theater are some of the most talented people I have ever met. They want to share every ounce of their knowledge with you so that you can become the best artist and the best person possible. When Roy Lightner joined their ranks two years ago, I felt like the Ministry had found the missing piece of the puzzle that we didn’t even know we missed. The Department of Theater is a family. We all care about each other and want everyone to be successful, and our teachers help us prepare to open our business. “
For the UAB theater, Hebson played the role of Lou Ann in “Hairspray” in 2018, and was also in the productions “Hay Fever”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “A Little Night Music”, “Vinegar Tom” and Dancing in Lughnasa. She considers sabotage, juggling, whistling, Dutch double skipping, Northern Irish and British dialects, and more, as performance skills, and makes impressions of Elmo and from Stitch During her time at UAB, she worked with professors from the Theater Department and the Music Department on technique, dance and vocal performance.
With his diploma, Hebson hopes to perform. She enjoys being in ensembles and dancing, and has performed with Theater UAB’s touring groups, traveling across the state to perform live in schools, libraries and community centers. Seeing people’s faces as they watch these tours gave her “the best feeling in the world,” she said.
“My freshman year, I was on the Bookends Tour, we did ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, and it was the most fun I’ve had in a show,” she said. “There were four of us, and we got to compose our own raps for the show and we just got to have the most fun every time we went out. My last year, I was the soundboard operator on the Broadway Today Tour, which was a cabaret band. It was really hard to learn how to operate a soundboard and use it, as I had never learned how to do it before I got the job. It was a fun tour and I learned a lot. These tours are truly a joy to be a part of.
“Valerie and the rest of the faculty and staff in the Department of Theater are some of the most talented people I have ever met. They want to share every ounce of their knowledge with you so that you can become the best artist and the best person possible. – Marissa Hebson
Hebson’s enthusiasm for the theater and for UAB is palpable, says Accetta. Besides being an excellent performer on stage, she was also the top student recruiter in the Department of Theater.
Whether it’s auditions on campus or at the Southeastern Theater Conference, Marissa happily shares her experiences with others, and I bet she’s one of the reasons we’ve continued to attract students too. wonderful, ”said Accetta.
Hebson says she hopes to work at Disney for a little while and see where it takes her.
“I also love working with kids, so maybe something that involves both,” Hebson said. “I’m just going with the flow for now and taking every opportunity I can.”