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Messiah alum lands Broadway role

This fall, Stephanie Fieger Klein ’02 made Messiah College history by securing the role of Harpier in the Broadway production of “Macbeth.” For Klein, the road to Broadway has been both challenging and rewarding as she has spent her time since graduation exploring the world of theatre in New York City and regionally, ultimately in pursuit of realizing her Broadway dream.  Now, as Klein takes the famous stage as the daunting creature Harpier, there is no doubt that her once distant dream has become a remarkable reality.

Arts appreciation

Brought up in a home that always prized the arts, Klein found herself interested in theatre from very early on.  What originally assisted in making the transition from awe-inspired audience member to captivating stage presence was Klein’s visit to her first Broadway-sized show, “Phantom of the Opera,” at age 13.  As she phrased it, “The music, sheer grandiosity, and incredible focus hit me hard, and I knew I had to be a part of it in some way.”  Klein first stepped onto the stage and into the shoes of her first role as Little Eva in “The King and I” in high school and discovered that she had found her niche.

After high school, Klein continued to follow her passion for theatre at Messiah.  As a theatre major, she spent most of her time in Climenhaga where she assumed the roles of many different characters as she worked on nearly 10 shows throughout her four years.  According to Klein, “The experiences and mentoring I received at Messiah shaped me in such a grand way, and for that I am forever grateful.”  According to theatre professor Valerie Smith, “Stephanie stood out to me because she was always present.  She arrived early and stayed late in both rehearsal and studio classes to chat, not just about her role, but about the plays and the playwrights. I suspected Stephanie would do well if she chose it.”

Big break

Immediately following graduation, Klein booked her first professional role as an actor at Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pa. where she stayed for a while until feeling a tug to dig deeper.  After gaining some professional experience, she decided she wanted to pursue concentrated training through NYU’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program.  Upon graduation in 2006, Klein followed her career to several different theatres in NYC and regionally.  Her “big break” came this August when her agents secured the audition for Harpier in Broadway’s “Macbeth.”  After auditioning for the part, Klein landed the roles of Harpier and one of Lady Macbeth’s attendants.  In addition, she is also acting as the understudy for Lady Macduff and Hecate.  According to Klein, “Macbeth is definitely among my favorite of Shakespeare’s [plays].  It’s a timeless, chilling, and utterly compelling story of a good man gone bad.”

Experiencing Broadway for the first time, Klein mentioned several highlights that have stood out to her since assuming this new role.  First, a major highlight is the sheer magnificence of working at one of the finest theatres in the country with “a truly fantastic group of people on one of the greatest plays ever.”  In addition, Klein noted that the exposure is incredible as seemingly everyone knows about the play and everyone wants to see it.  Although these perks seem nearly unbeatable, Klein stated that the best part of working on Broadway is the chance to work every day with her husband who is acting as the associate director on the production.

While working on Broadway certainly appears very rewarding for Klein, it doesn’t come without its challenges.  According to her, “Right now we’re in the thick of previews, which is a relatively new process for me.  Here, we have nearly a month of rehearsing during the day and performing at night.  It’s all-consuming and tiring but in the best possible way.”

As an alum on Broadway, Klein has paved the way for current students to follow in her footsteps.  As advice for students, Smith offers gaining knowledge and experience, taking criticism with humility and remaining gracious even when you don’t land the role.  Klein mastered these different aspects and, as Smith phrased it, she “is one of the most gracious and generous actors and human beings you will ever meet. It seems to me that Stephanie represents the gracious Christianity she heard about at Messiah College.”

Story by Jess Kern `15.

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