Franklin Park resident tries for musical theater
Justine Raczy of Franklin Park performing in the play "Quilters" at Elmhurst College. | Photo courtesy Justine Raczy
Updated: December 19, 2012 11:08AM
FRANKLIN PARK — Justine Raczy has been interested in musical theater since she started school.
The 21-year-old Franklin Park resident is in her senior year at Elmhurst College, where she is majoring in musical theater. There she has performed in “Quilters,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and most recently in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
Q: When were you first introduced to musical theater?
A: I think the “Wizard of Oz.” I was maybe 6. My mom introduced me to theaters and musicals. She’s a lover of classical music and theater herself.
Q: Were you a child who was always singing or playing make-believe?
A: Definitely. I would put on fake productions with my dog. He was any male fill-in character you could imagine. I’d perform with friends too.
Q: When did you first take part in a musical without the assistance of your dog?
A: Christmas productions in second and third grades. I remember being a shepherd. That’s when you spark (an interest) and continue or you hate it.
Q: Your first feature role?
A: “Fiddler on the Roof” in sixth grade at Hester Junior High. It was my first real show. I was Chava, the middle daughter who runs off with a Polish boy, which is frowned upon by her father.
Q: And after that?
A: I kind of continued in high school. I was in all the top choirs and theater productions. “The Secret Garden,” “Seussical the Musical.” My senior year I was in “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying.” That was my first main role. Mrs Jones. She was an older female businesswoman in this sea of men and the only one who wasn’t a secretary.
Q: At age 17 you were playing an older female businesswoman?
A: I think I got chosen because I’m kind of mature for my age. I have a little bigger sound than most sopranos do at this age.
Q: You chose to study musical theater in college?
A: I think it’s kind of something I always knew I had to do. You know what your gifts are and you want to share them with the world. I couldn’t think of something I’d like to do more every day than singing, dancing and acting.
Q: Did you ever consider another career?
A: When I was younger I wanted to be a veterinarian. That got kyboshed in high school when we had to dissect dead cats and pigs.
Q: Beside being able to sing, dance and act, do you need other skills?
A: You have to be fairly analytical to really delve into your script and connect with fellow actors and get what you need to respond and react. It isn’t just fun, it’s work.
Q: Is it possible to make a living at musical theater?
A: I recently got a book. It says only 10 to 20 percent of Equity actors are working. You obviously have to get side jobs. I’m sure being a singing waitress is in my near future. If you don’t acknowledge to yourself that you will have a day job, I don’t know who you think you are.
Q: Most embarrassing moment in a show?
A: “Stage Door,” a straight (non-musical) play about 1930s actresses at the Stage Door Cantina. I was backstage and having way too much fun and completely missed my cue. In the blackout I was supposed to get into a lounging position. I bolted backstage and was chugging in heels – click, click, click – and threw myself on the floor just as the lights were coming up.
Q: Plans after you graduate?
A: I want to move downtown. I need to get an apartment, but I want to keep my job at Starbucks. I’m starting to buckle down and plan it out. Beefing up my repertoire book and getting some really solid monologues and really solid songs.