UW-L Hosts Tony Award Winning Actress Karen Olivo


Retrieved from www.wsj.com

Karley Betzler, Sports Reporter

On Monday, Feb. 27. Creative Imperatives kicked-off their 2017 festival, “Identity Matters”.

Creative Imperatives is a unique festival put on by the School of Arts and Communication to highlight the work of students, staff and faculty.

“Creative Imperatives originally started as an opportunity to showcase the artwork created at UW-L as well as to bring guests to UW-L that people might not know,” stated Laurue Kincman, Creative Imperatives Festival Coordinator.

Some of these guests include Beautiful Music for Ugly Children author Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Trumpeter Brandon Ridenour, and LGBTQ Activist CeCe McDonald.

Since its inception, the festival has operated under a theme. This year’s theme is “Identity Matters”.

“All of the sessions are intended to either promote a new part of the conversation about identity or provide a new lens for an existing part of the conversation,” explained Kincman.

Monday night brought Tony Award winning actress Karen Olivo to UW-L to speak on her journey to success as a performer. Olivo has performed on and off Broadway in productions such as West Side Story and In the Heights. She is currently playing the role of Angelica Schuyler Church in the Chicago production of Hamilton. Olivo has also appeared on TV shows such as The Good Wife and Harry’s Law.

Keeping with the theme of Creative Imperatives, Olivo explained how identity and success as a performer interact.

She discussed working with Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the award-winning musical Hamilton. Olivo worked with Mirandapreviously as his love interest, Vanessa, in In the Heights and stated it was “The first time I got to be who I was… It was the first role where I got to celebrate being a person of color,” explained Olivo.

Using her experience in embracing her identity in In the Heights, Olivo continued her success with her portrayal of Angelica Schuyler Church in Hamilton.

“My best advice is to find what’s at the core of you, what makes you unique, perfect it, and then shine it on everything,” emphasized Olivo “If you do anything else, you’re duplicating something else and it’s going to be second-rate, so you might as well [do what you want].”

Olivo gave the audience one final piece of advice. “Get a mirror and keep looking at yourself and figure out what your voice is, what your ideas are, what you’re passionate about, and then put that out into the world.”

Olivo and the other guests were integral in yet another successful Creative Imperatives Festival. This year’s “Identity Matters” theme celebrates what makes each UW-L student unique.

The next event for the UW-L Art Department will be Tuesday, March 7, when ceramist and mixed media artist Kevin Lips will speak from 5 to 6 pm at the Student Union.