Posted February 27, 2012

Faces of Temple: Eileen Aurelia McHugh

Name: Eileen Aurelia McHugh

Year: senior

School: School of Communications and Theater

Major: Theater (concentration in musical theater)

Home town: Kintnersville, Pa. (Bucks Co.)

Why I chose Temple: "I'd definitely say location. Philadelphia has a very active, vibrant and tight-knit theater community. It's easy to make connections here. In the theater business, it's who you know, and Temple is a great place to meet theater professionals and casting people. I've worked twice at the Walnut Street Theater, a major theater house in the city — first it was 'Miss Saigon' and then 'The King and I.' Temple has a great musical theater program with a great acting faculty. At Temple, we're trained to be actors, not singers who act. You need to be a storyteller."

Transformative experience: "I've had the great fortune to have so many performance opportunities. I love the process of creating a character. In my sophomore year, I played Mimi in the Temple Theaters production of 'Rent.' That was big for me. The character was a stretch for me, but it got me to be more open to trying new things. A lot of acting is about being vulnerable and putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. One great thing about Temple's program is our shows don't just last one weekend. 'Rent' ran five weeks. I did the show 15 times, and no performance was identical. I had to keep it interesting and keep it new.

"Now we're in rehearsal for 'A Chorus Line.' I'm really happy to play Diana Morales. It's a role I've always identified with. She's definitely an optimist. So many people give out all this negative energy toward her, but she always is able to turn it around. That's the reality of theater. It's a hard business. Every audition is a first date, and most of the time they reject you. There's so much on the line, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. It does get to you. But the character Diana sees how it is and is able to move on. She just lives, and knows that the next day will come."