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Sarah Cornell

Sarah Cornell

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance

Year of graduation: 2001

The Stories She Can Tell...

During the spring/summer of 2007, I starred as “Annie/Shelly” in Evil Dead the Musical at the Diesel Playhouse in Toronto. I was honoured with a Dora Award nomination for Best Female Performance in a Musical for this role.

Next summer, I can be seen on TV as the newest cast member of Comedy Inc. on CTV. I will perform and write sketches for the show, which has been referred to as the Canadian answer to SNL.

Other theatre credits include: The Second City National Touring Company (Toronto/ Chicago), Sex and the Second City (Chicago), Ulla in The Producers (Toronto, Broadway), for which I received a Dora Award nomination for Best Female Performance in a Musical. I also played Astrid in the TV movie, The Robber Bride, starring Mary Louise Parker. I played the Russian chambermaid Irina in the Ken Finkelman series, At the Hotel… on CBC. And this fall, I can be seen as Siobahn on the new CBC miniseries Across the River to Motor City.

The Sheridan College Music Theatre Program felt like Fame school to me. Under the direction of the eccentric Rod Maxwell, each day was filled with more drama than a 17-year-old musical theatre nerd could hope for. Our days would start at 8:30am and run until 6:30pm. After that, it was working on stuff for the next day. I got bronchitis all the time and mono once, but not from kissing anyone. After all, it was a Musical Theatre Program!

Speaking of which, once I was assigned a scene from George F. Walker’s Suburban Motel with one of my classmates (and now good friend). We were supposed to make out in it, but he wasn’t into me, so in rehearsal he decided that we would just hug me everytime the stage directions said to “make out passionately.“ I pointed out that our characters were married and that we were supposed to be drunk and wild in the scene, but it was first year, I was 17 and we were in a tutorial room by ourselves. There are names for people who force other people against their will to kiss them in a locked room. So we did the scene in front of the class and it was like, “I’m rip roaring drunk you “expletive, expletive! Let’s have sex!” and…hug. So yeah, it didn’t work but the teacher told us we had to make out and so the following week it was smooch central and I think we got a moderately good mark on that scene. Like a “B” or something, so not bad, eh?

I also remember our Cage Parties! It was a chance to get away from our everyday singing and dancing and go out singing and dancing. When Theatre students throw a party, things get colourful real fast. There was always a theme and that theme was usually “Sequins” or “Glitter”. Not a single wallflower, it was a room full of more than 75 life-of-the-party people. The bar staff said our nights were their favourite department party to work. I hope the MT students of today are still representin’.

Advice for Sheridan students? Take full advantage of the time you have and really push the boundaries of your talents. Don’t stress about the skills you don’t have in a particular discipline, but focus more on developing your strengths. Everyone’s going to have a different path, so don’t bother comparing yourself to anyone else. Just run your own race.

I have many peers who went through the program with me who are working as recording artists, film actors, casting directors, and in many other avenues of the entertainment industry. I hope all your dreams come true, but realize you may have to slog away for a long time before that! I could tell you stories…

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