Life in the limelight: Oakland MTD post-grad experiences

Rachel Williams, Staff Reporter

Regardless of your major, life after college can be difficult between trying to find a job and making it in the “real world.”

Oakland’s Music, Theatre and Dance Department offers strong experience and faculty attention for its students.

Two of the MTD program’s most recent graduates shared their experiences after school ended.

Mitchell Aiello performed in productions like “Under Milk Wood,” “Freckleface Strawberry,” “Oklahoma!” and more. Outside of the university, he had the opportunity to perform in New York City with other OU students at “Carner and Gregor’s Barley Legal Showtune Extravaganza.”

Another MTD graduate, Jake Daley, was similarly active in OU shows like “Pirates of Penzance,” “She Loves Me” and “Assassins.”

He also participated in the senior showcase in New York City, where students went to auditions, saw productions and attended workshops.

“I saw six shows in about five days and completely drained my bank account,” Daley said. “The Monday that everyone had off, we did our showcase twice and got a really good reception.”

Since graduating in April, Daley has worked in Huron, Ohio for the Huron Playhouse. He worked as a chorus member in “Little Shops of Horrors” and as an assistant stage manager for various productions.

He is currently auditioning for productions and companies like TheatreWorks in New York City, as well as speaking with agents about possibly signing once he moves out to NYC.

“I would honestly say that the professors are really adamant about giving you personalized attention to prepare you for what you need to do,” Daley said about his education at OU. “It taught me that there is only so much that the professor can do and more than half of it has to be your work.”

Aiello is also auditioning and working on productions.

“I have worked for Blue Gates Musicals in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, since the day after graduation playing the role of Daniel Fisher in ‘The Confession’ and playing the role of Bart in ‘Josiah for President,’” Aiello said. “I also performed with the Campy Cabaret Series at The West End Lounge in New York City.”

Aiello explained that he is not working with an agent, but rather communicating with different companies on what his future in performance could be. He is hoping to move to Pittsburgh in November to work for a musical company through the summer of 2017.

Like Daley, he credits the OU faculty for his post-graduation success.

“They are so willing to share their knowledge and support their students in every endeavor,” Aiello said. “The program at Oakland has continued to grow and I am very thankful for the classes of graduates before me that have paved the way… Oakland has a connection to the current theatre, film, TV, music and dance world and the faculty uses the resources at hand to make sure that each student has the best experience in versatility to truly prepare them for the real world.”