January 8, 2020 at 10:45am
Kalli Farmer '20 / Video by Lillian Hester '21

Musical theatre major brings authenticity to the stage

Four years ago, Trey DeLuna was auditioning for various college theatre programs but wasn't landing the opportunities that he was hoping for. He applied and auditioned at Millikin University knowing Millikin is home to one of the best musical theatre programs in the country. As it turned out, DeLuna wanted Millikin, and Millikin wanted him right back.

"It meant a lot that Millikin wanted me to come into the program. The fact that the professors saw something in me that I didn't know I had was a really big confidence booster for me." said DeLuna.

The senior musical theatre major from Munster, Ind., fully grasped the opportunity that Millikin presented him and he ran with it. Right away he was cast in different shows and productions all which have helped him hone his craft in acting.

"Performance Learning has played a big role in my education because normally we go to class and we learn techniques, we learn how to use our bodies to bring ourselves to a character, or how we can develop our vocal instrument, but it really doesn't come together until you can put it on stage," said DeLuna.

DeLuna has been able to put all he's learned on stage by performing in the Millikin productions of "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "As You Like it," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Chicago the Musical."

"My favorite production that I was cast in would probably be 'Phantom of the Opera,'" said DeLuna. "It was the show that probably scared me the most. That one was really good for me to do and I'm really proud of myself for being able to do it and get over the fear of being in front of so many people in the Kirkland (Fine Arts Center) audience."

As much as DeLuna has been in the spotlight on the stage, the last thing he wants is for people to see him, but rather he wants the focus to be on his character. He strives to portray his character in the most authentic and genuine way.

"Hopefully the audience won't see me, but they will see the character that is on stage. Maybe when they see me after the show they will be surprised that I act completely different than something that I did on stage," DeLuna said.

DeLuna will be graduating this upcoming May 2020 and will be moving to Chicago to pursue a career in acting. Not really understanding the industry prior to college, DeLuna now feels prepared to go out into the "real world" to pursue his dream. He has become more assured in his abilities during his time at Millikin and is extremely grateful for that newly found confidence.

As DeLuna prepares to leave Millikin and move towards the next phase of his life, he wishes he could experience one of the most ambitious building projects on Millikin's campus with the opening of the new Center for Theatre & Dance next fall.

"I am so excited for students in the future to be able to have a space where they can be surrounded by each other," he said. "I think the new building is going to make it so much easier for students to grow as performers.”