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Living in the Limelight

Passion, Humility and Family Drive Sophomore Musical Theatre Major

Jul 24, 2023
For Rachel Weiner '26, the performing arts have always been in her blood.

Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City, she developed a passion for being on stage. Now a burgeoning actress in the Florida Southern College musical theatre department, she is focusing even more on her craft and finding success along the way.

"Doing what I love, that is what matters to me," Weiner said. "I'm a 'live in the moment' person."

The Here and Now

After moving to Marco Island, Fla. as a teenager, Weiner chose Florida Southern and its nationally ranked theatre Rachel Weiner and friendsprogram for several reasons, including the school's overall quality. At a smaller school, Rachel knew she would receive focused training. She found that mentorship from Dr. Christianne Roll, Associate Professor of Musical Theatre and Musical Theatre Program Coordinator at Florida Southern, who doubles as Weiner's private vocal coach.

"Dr. Roll has taught me how to embrace every aspect of my talents," Weiner said. "She encourages me to open up and grow."

The two have developed a strong relationship in Weiner's first year on campus.

"Rachel Weiner is an ideal student and artist." Roll said. "She arrives to every voice lesson with a passion for learning, and a constant positive outlook and infectious personality. I have witnessed Rachel's kindness to her fellow classmates throughout her freshman year and appreciate her leadership."

The Program

The musical theatre program provides robust training with a balanced curriculum. Students gain an individualized, up-to-date musical theatre education with a focus on singing, acting, and dancing to prepare students for professional careers.

The program has seen success in recent years, with FSC alumni appearing in movies (Douglas Rouillard '01), on television (Phoebe French '20), on Broadway (Mister Fitzgerald '16), national television singing competitions (Zach D'Onofrio '23), and stages across the globe. The success of FSC students and graduates has not gone unnoticed, as The Princeton Review recognized FSC's program as the 25th Best College Theatre program in the country.

Support System

Weiner's passion for her craft is evident in her hometown, as the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts recently renewed her scholarship for a second time. Her first MIFA grant came after her senior year at Marco Island Academy.
Rachel Weiner and family
During the application process, she penned an essay, but instead of talking about her own accomplishments, she addressed the role of her parents as inspirations for her and how she hoped the scholarship would help her parents out.

"Being in the theatre isn't cheap, it can get pretty expensive," Weiner stated.

Rachel’s mother Jackie (musician) and father Larry (writer) supported their daughter’s growing interest in the theater. Her parents didn't force feed it to her, she developed her own desire for the stage at an early age.

"My parents always told me, 'Don't hold yourself back,' and I never did," explains Rachel.

She is exceptionally thankful for that.

"I respect my parents,” she said. “I want to help them as they have helped me."