Mia Galbraith is back home – for one final time on the Schreiber Auditorium stage.
The Pioneer senior is playing Carmen in the Pioneer Theatre Guild production of “FAME, The Musical,” which opens this week and runs through May 5. It’s going to be a bittersweet time for Mia, who may just get a little emotional when that curtain she knows all too well closes for the final time.
“Truly I can’t believe this is my last show at PTG,” she says. “It has been a pleasure working with such a wondrous and caring company that brings hope and theatre to the community.”
While she will be saying goodbye to PTG, Mia also will be greeting her future which of course will revolve around theater.
“I am honored to announce I will be attending Baldwin Wallace University in the fall to pursue a BM in Musical Theatre,” she says. “It is a dream to attend a university with such growth opportunities, talented kind students, and a world esteemed team. Four years of music training will set me up perfectly for Broadway so New York look out.”
She may be smiling when she says that but she is serious about her plans and never doubt a dreamer – especially one with Mia’s talent. It’s kind of fitting that her final PTG production will be FAME – something she is ready and eager to begin chasing.
Her character Carmen is “quite the firecracker and loves being the center of attention,” she says. And that’s fine with Mia.
“It comes from a desire to make her mark on the world, which is a beautifully human thing to want,” Mia says of Carmen. “She is a ‘dancer first’ but is the only student we see in the show who takes classes with both acting and dancing “majors” along with her frontman position in a band. Carmen decides to take on Hollywood in FAME and to know what happens you’ll just have to come see the show.”
Mia says the biggest challenges in her role is the familiarity she has with Carmen.
“I am so like Carmen it scares me in a way,” Mia says. “She’s brilliant, but she’s also so angry that it ultimately breaks her. It’s hard to see a lot of yourself and want to be nothing like the person at the same time. A big topic Maya, our director, and I talked about was not judging your character, which is an easy thing to do. She and I pointed out everyone has a reason behind their actions. Once I found where Carmen gets her drive, spunk and passion, I was able to better understand her as part of me rather than just a role.”
The play is only a few days away from opening night and Mia believes everyone – cast and crew – are ready to rock and roll.
“Rehearsals have been more fun than normal,” she says. “The directing team is so clever, and all of them have experienced PA high school training. There is a lot to digest and understand in FAME’s libretto that is not directly stated in the book, so to have such brilliant directors delve into it with you is fascinating.
“This is a much bigger dance show than our fall musical ‘Willy Wonka,’ so I think it has been a change for a lot of the cast to be dancing so much. It is such a refreshing challenge. The directing team holds us to high expectations and through that the cast and crew of FAME have been pushed towards excellence.”
FAME drew in cast and crew from all around the district. Mia finds it “humbling” to be surrounded by such talented students. “It is truly a pleasure to watch the cast push themselves every day,” she says. “The choreography for this show is mind-bending, absolutely beautiful and crazy hard. The music has intense rhythms and harmonies for singers. The different talents the cast brought to the table from day one is what makes our FAME so special.”
And then there is the crew.
“There’s no way to begin talking about how instrumental the crews are to a show,” Mia says. “I cannot get enough of the hardworking students at PTG and the crew students are not exempt from that. I am in awe of the work with all of PTG, but boy do the crews deserve a round of applause.”
Insert clapping emoji.
Mia, who was most recently in “Willy Wonka” at PTG playing Willy Wonka, also has been Clopin in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Sharpay in “High School Musical,” and Daniela in “In The Heights.” She also has participated in many shows at Center Stage Productions and Forever After Productions, along with Horizon Performing Arts where she assistant directed “Stuart Little.”
Mia, the daughter of Michelle and Stephen Galbraith, also performs well in the classroom. She has a 3.928 and has been quite busy on and off the stage at Pioneer.
She is an active member of Pioneer Choirs; serves as a co-ensemble manager of the A Capella Choir; sings in Sha Bop Shoppe, an acapella group at Pioneer; and also is vice president of Pioneers to the Rescue.
Musical theatre, Mia says, is the ultimate form of collaboration – from “the crews working on visual art, the band and orchestra on auditory, the stage management team working on running it all, the actors performing, and the audience being authentic and honest alongside them,” she says. “Theatre, musical theatre specifically, is so beautiful because of its ability to bring others together.
“It’s been a pleasure working with so many companies in Michigan that are passionate about getting the arts out there. We are really fortunate at PTG to have such support coming from the adults and sponsors.”
Photos courtesy Mia Galbraith
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