If you attended Christmas at DePaul this year, you became familiar with Michael Morrow, a senior Theatre School acting major and the narrator for this year's performances.
The beauty and significance of the program is not lost on Morrow, a Chicago native and Chicago High School for the Arts graduate, who has dreamed of attending DePaul's Theatre School since he was in eighth grade. Engaged in the Chicago theatre scene since high school and familiar with DePaul since his sister attended, Morrow never really saw himself attending college anywhere else.
"My sister loved DePaul, and I thought the campus and neighborhood were beautiful," Morrow says. "Of course, DePaul has one of the best theatre schools in the nation, and I knew I would like to continue to be a part of the Chicago theatre scene. If I was accepted, I knew I would attend."
Approximately 1,600 students apply for the 106 open spots - 92 BFA and 14 MFA - at the Theatre School each year, making the program highly competitive, and Morrow one of a rare few.
Morrow got his start in theatre at age 10, when he auditioned for the musical "School House Rock, Jr."
"I wanted to sing and perform, but the elementary school I attended in Chicago didn't have choir, so I had to find another outlet for my passion," Morrow says.
He nabbed a part in the musical. From there, he moved to plays and began to cultivate a love for theatre, eventually landing in the acting program at DePaul.
As the narrator for Christmas at DePaul, Morrow got to be a part of "the greatest story ever told," as he put it, or the story of the Nativity.
"The whole production is gorgeous: the lighting, sound-everything is beautiful," Morrow says.
The narrated pieces are followed by familiar and classic songs performed by the 150-member DePaul Community Chorus and a 50-member orchestra of students from the School of Music.
Narrating Christmas at DePaul was a great honor for Morrow, but far from his only rewarding experience at DePaul.
"My entire education at DePaul has been filled with learning and enlightenment," he says. "The emphasis of most of my classes in the Theatre School has been on truth, understanding my truth and the truth of others' experiences. Then it's thinking critically about roles and situations and breaking ideas down to their smallest part."
What has been Morrow's best experience at DePaul, though?
"I had the great privilege of working on a production of 'Wig Out,' which is a beautiful story," he says.
"Wig Out" is a play written by DePaul alumnus Tarell Alvin McCraney, who also won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screen Play for the film "Moonlight."
Once he graduates this June, Morrow intends to pursue work as an actor. DePaul has prepared him well for life after college, he says.
"The Theatre School has brought in theatre companies that I've done general auditions for, and I'm also looking forward to the senior showcase in the spring," Morrow says.
The showcase gives senior acting students an opportunity to prepare and perform scenes for casting directors and agents. The event also gives students the opportunity to begin professional networking, which is critical for an actor.
"An arts degree gives students a lot of transferrable skills, which I'm grateful for, but my focus is on acting," he says. "My hope is that in 10 years, I will be making a full-time living as an artist."