Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
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School of Humanities and Sciences | Theatrical Production Arts
“I was 10 when I saw the stage production of The Lion King, and I knew right then I wanted to make theatre my career,” said Max Doolittle ’11. “The trouble was, I suffered from stage fright, and that led me to work backstage.”
Max started painting scenery before discovering his calling was lighting and design.
“In high school, I was looking for a college program that would teach me how to create moving theatre in the real world,” Max said. “I picked IC because lots of people told me that if I was thinking about theatre design, I needed to consider Ithaca College.”
By the time Max graduated with a B.F.A. in theatre production arts, the “real world” that he had been aiming for turned out to be the place where he’d studied for four years.
In addition to Max’s experience as lighting designer for two Ithaca College Theatre productions, his undergraduate resume included more than a dozen gigs with central New York theatre companies as well as assignments as associate or assistant lighting designer at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Adirondack Theatre Festival, and Minnesota Opera.
“The spring of my senior year, another student and I collaborated with faculty mentor Steve TenEyck in producing Salome with the Minnesota Opera,” Max said. “We created the scenery and worked with Steve to figure out the lighting for each scene. It was a large-scale opera with world-class singers and musicians. I was amazed to see how the real world operates and also to have that strong credit on my resume.”
Max spent the summer after graduation working on regional shows and is now in demand for various theatre projects in NYC at Access Theatre, Ars Nova Theatre, Soho Rep Theatre, and The Juilliard School, among others.
“I could talk forever about model constructing, computer drafting, and all the practical skills the IC theatre faculty taught me,” Max said. “But beyond that, there’s an indescribable something. I’m going to call it professionalism. At IC, they run things exactly the way a regional theatre would, from the proper way to communicate with directors to how to come up with design ideas. The skills I learned at IC are the same ones I’m using now in my career.”
>> More on this story: Department of Theatre Arts
For me, musical performance has always been about the visible and tangible effects of art on an audience. Touring with Ithaca College ensembles gave me those experiences locally and in major cities like New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. But a chance encounter at IC is what really set me on my current path.
When I auditioned and got placed in the Women’s Chorale, I was wowed by the level of instruction and guidance I received from director Janet Galván – all before I was an official music major. Her support continued even beyond my time at IC, but to have it during that first year really spoke to how much she cared about her students.
The thing is, she wasn’t the only faculty member like that. I could always drop by a professor’s office and say, “I’m having a hard time with this, please help me brainstorm.”
Through Janet’s summer conducting workshops, I became familiar with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. A year after I graduated IC, I found out they were looking for conductors. In fact, it was during one of those workshops that I approached YPC’s artistic director and said, “Hey, I’m interested in conducting for you.”
Now I’m the one with the baton, and I get to share the artistic experiences I always sought with the next generation of young vocalists, and inspire them to find their own paths.
>> More on this story: Women's Chorale
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