Senior spotlight: Levi Roush ‘24

Levi Roush ‘24 reflects on his journey as an actor.

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From childhood performances in his family home to Muhlenberg musicals, Levi Roush ‘24 has never stopped exploring his art. A theatre major with a business minor, Roush’s time at Muhlenberg has been well spent honing his craft. 

When discussing how he first started acting, Roush explains, “Before I was performing on an actual stage, my two older sisters and I were creating our own performances for our family. As much younger children, my sisters and I devised performances made up of songs, dance numbers and skitlets. We would perform them in our basement, inviting grandparents and aunts and uncles. We hung sheets across a rope to make a curtain, and we even had concessions (popcorn) at one of our performances. We called ourselves ‘The Little Stars.’ What started as just playing pretend with my sisters blossomed into one of my greatest passions.”

While Roush was always a performer, he didn’t immediately jump into the spotlight. It was his sister Arielle who gave him the push he needed to step on stage. With her support, Roush debuted as Tiny Tim in the Williamsport Community Theater’s rendition of “Scrooge.” Since then, the stage has become a second home for Roush. He’s gone on to perform at summer theater camps, community theaters and in middle and high school productions. 

Once Roush realized his passion for theatre, he never gave it up. At Muhlenberg, he’s added several works to his resume. He recounts, “My sophomore year I was in an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet called ‘Call Me By Any Other Name… Just As Sweet’ directed by [former Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre,] Nigel Semaj, and the spring musical, ‘Miss You Like Hell,’ directed by [former Visiting Assistant Professor of Acting Jamie McKittrick ‘04]. In the fall of my junior year, I was in ‘The Threepenny Opera,’ directed by Jim Peck, Ph.D. The last, and most recent show I took part in was ‘And Jesus MoonWalks The Mississippi’ this past fall semester.” In addition to acting, Roush has also explored design, working as a scenic designer for the studio production “God of Carnage,” directed by Joey Marcacci ‘23. 

Each of these productions had a major impact on Roush as an artist. Roush said, “‘Call Me By Any Other Name… Just As Sweetwas the first play I ever did that really gave a voice to queer individuals, and allowed us to make a performance uniquely ours. It opened me up to new possibilities of self-expression and community building. ‘Miss You Like Hell’ inspired me to continue taking part in the telling of stories that are not heard enough,” he explains. To Roush,  “[Acting] is really about connecting. Connecting with other actors, connecting with the audience, connecting with a playwright, connecting with the creative team and connecting with myself.” 

With each new show, Roush has explored different ways of connecting. Roush elaborated, “I’ve played a range of roles at Muhlenberg, from schoolboy twink, to biker leather daddy, to slimy beggar to confederate soldier. With all of these characters, my skills have really been stretched and I feel like I’ve grown a lot.” 

However, Roush’s journey hasn’t been confined to the stage. He’s learned a lot in the classroom, taking classes in acting technique as well as courses in design and playwriting. Roush states, “I am grateful that the structure of the theatre major has allowed me to explore other areas in theatre and performance outside of acting.” 

McKittrick also served as a huge inspiration for Roush. “I took Acting Process with her, as well as a Grotowski course. She introduced me to the psycho-physical acting techniques I find really useful for my acting processes. She is an artist who always brings energy and a willingness to explore that I find really inspiring.” 

He also finds great inspiration in his sister Arielle, the very same person who first showed him the stage. “I know I am biased, but I think she is one of the most phenomenal actors I know, always bringing truth to her performances,” he shares.

With his time at Muhlenberg coming to a close, Roush is preparing to take all he has learned to this new stage in life. When asked about his plans after graduation, he shared, “I plan to move to Philly in the fall after I graduate. There, I hope to pursue opportunities provided by the many theaters and performance venues within the city.”

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