BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK—Shenendehowa Senior Connor Olney has already started the process of applying to college, but—unlike most of his fellow classmates—this undertaking doesn’t end when the SAT score, essays, transcripts and other electronic information has been submitted.
This is because he has decided to pursue the major of musical theater.
“As part of the application, I have to do audition videos for a lot of them,” Olney said. “If I pass the audition videos I can go in for a live audition in January or February.”
The competition is stiff. “I’m going to have to apply to a lot of schools,” Olney said. “Most programs only accept about 15 people, so it’s very competitive.”
He has his heart set on Carnegie-Mellon University. “I went to their summer program this past summer,” Olney said. “I spent six weeks there on campus at their school of drama.”
It was the professors that set the school apart. “Meeting the faculty, I really loved meeting the faculty,” Olney said. “Also, they’re the only school in the country that has a partnership with the TONY awards. That was a very interesting thing I saw. Their drama program just celebrated their hundredth year anniversary, which just shows how prestigious it is.”
He has been a student within the Shenendehowa school district since kindergarten.
His father, Jim, works at a federal credit union as a product manager, and his mother, Lynne, is a consultant or different healthcare companies, and—as a result—travels quite a bit. “She actually works in Detroit now, so she about every other week will fly there Monday through Thursday,” Olney said.
He also has an older brother—Tyler, 20— who goes to Tufts University in Boston for engineering and plays lacrosse.
He has participated in his fair share of musicals and dramas at school including “Grease,” “The Sound of Music,” Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Noises Off!”
This year, for the fall drama, he has secured the role of Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
His favorite role, though, was Roger in “Grease.” “I did that with Brenna Joyce and we got to act crazy together,” Olney said. “I’m used to being very serious and formal, so being able to do that and not care if I look dumb or look crazy was very cool for me to do that. It was out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become more fun and embrace weirdness in a way.”
To Olney, dramas will never hold a candle to musicals. “I love to dance and sing, and singing basically came way before acting,” Olney said. “I’ve been singing since I was a toddler and took voice lessons since the end of elementary school, so that’s what drew me to musical theater is the singing aspect. Then I realized I loved the dancing, and acting came last.”
He continued: “Musicals are fun and they make people feel happy. I think you get the same thing when you’re in it; it’s fun to be in, as well as fun for the people who are watching it.”
In ten years he hopes to be living his dream. “I want to be living in New York City, preferably doing broadway sort of things but dancing, and maybe doing voiceovers or films,” Olney said. “I know a lot of people do like special TV appearances in law and order. That would be kind of cool; that’s the goal.”
Seven questions for Conner Olney:
Q: What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?
A: I want to go to California. I’ve never been to California. I’ve been to France, I’ve been to Disney World, but i’ve never been to Disneyland or California.
Q: Favorite color?
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
A: I’d like to fly. I would get places quicker. It seems like it would be fun and I like planes.
Q: What’s one of your biggest fears?
Q: If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?
A: I’ve always wanted a pet squirrel. I think they’re really cute. I know that they’re aggressive and afraid of humans but I think it would be really cool. They look really fluffy and it’s cool how they can jump from tree to tree and jump up stuff. It would probably be hard to like walk your squirrel, though.
Q: What is your favorite place to visit?
A: My favorite place to visit would be France.
Q:If you could live in a different time period, what would it be and why?
A: Maybe the 20’s; I’m thinking like Gatsby and Millie… it seems like a fun time if you’re in the upper class.