Taking Center Stage
New York City is the center of Brandon Contreras’ ’13 universe. A musical theater major with a dance minor, Contreras chose Pace because of its proximity to The Great White Way and its growing Musical Theater Program in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. He is committed to his craft and experiencing firsthand the struggles and triumphs of a young Broadway hopeful. Since his freshman year, he’s been involved with most Pace musicals and plays, the 2010 dance concert Dance Out Loud, and has been to more than two dozen professional auditions. It was the ninth audition that was a charm: He landed a role in the national tour of the Tony Awardwinning musical, In the Heights.
A merit scholar, Contreras relishes the personal attention he receives at Pace and the professional preparation. “The professors really care and work with me on a personal level,” he says. “The knowledge and performance level I’ve obtained is amazing and life changing. My faculty mentor, Jen Littlefield, is constantly helping me grow as a dancer, a professional, and a person. Without her training, I would not have maintained the stamina and vigor of my job as a swing on tour.”
A rising star in a challenging profession, Contreras acknowledges the edge that Pace’s performing arts programming gives students. “The Musical Theater Program is growing every year,” Contreras says. “Soon enough, thousands of students will recognize Pace University as the place to study when pursuing a degree in the performing arts.”