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Brickey enjoys starring in productions with cast members she considers family

From playing murderess Velma Kelly in “Chicago” to wrestling with her ‘lover’ in “Summertime”, Eli Brickey has graced the stage in many University theatre productions. But through the years and the scripts, one thing has persisted — the fellowship Brickey has found with her colleagues and fellow students.

“Fellowship — that to me is more rewarding than entertaining people,” Brickey, a senior musical theatre major, said. “The fellowship with a cast of people who become so close to one another that you just trust them, it’s family.”

Brickey will graduate in May and has participated in eight University productions.

Almost from the beginning, she was acting with Casey Toney, a senior who has acted in many plays with Brickey.

Brickey is always trying to develop friendships and fellowship with other actors, Toney said.

“She’s definitely the kind of actor and worker who brings that positive attitude and is trying to talk to everybody in the cast,” Toney said. “[Fellowship is] definitely one of things we both really love about theatre.”

Toney and Brickey formed a friendship of their own working together in productions, and their friendship soon grew to a relationship. The two have been dating and working together for more than three years.

“We’ve been able to help each other in some really positive ways,” Toney said.

Through their personal and professional relationships, Toney has seen the way Brickey acts and portrays her characters.

“She can be timid and she can be very sweet and that brings an innocence and a vulnerability and an emotional openness to the things she does,” Toney said. “At the same time, she’s very goofy and can command a room when she wants to.”

Her personality and passion show through in the characters she portrays, Toney said.

“I think as actors, you have to find the connection with all the characters,” Brickey said. “You find the connection with how you relate to them, you find through the process how you are similar to them or not.”

Brickey enjoys showing other people’s lives to the audience, she said.

“It’s so exciting to not only entertain people and hear laughter,” she said. “It’s so exciting to be able to captivate people and show them someone else’s life for a while.”

Playing Maria in “Summertime” is Brickey’s favorite role so far, she said. Brickey found a lot of fellowship and friendship with the cast and Director Sara Chambers, she said.

“I genuinely didn’t mind if the audience didn’t like the show because I was having such a good time during the rehearsal process,” Brickey said.

Chambers, a lecturer and director, said her one of her favorite memories of Brickey was as Maria in “Summertime”.

“I think that I could say that in “Summertime” when she wrestled with Francois, who was her love interest, and she pinned him to the ground,” Chambers said. “I’ll say it was quite something to see.”

Brickey and Chambers have done many “crazy” things together, Chambers said.

“She’s really funny and she’s a fearless performer,” Chambers said.

Brickey works hard to be better at performing, Toney said.

“Eli always wants to grow, she can be a bit hard on herself sometimes, I guess, but it comes out of a real desire to improve as an actor,” Toney said.

Brickey takes every opportunity available to her, she said.

“If there was an opportunity, I took it,” Brickey said. “I think that’s how I’ve become at least successful in this community.”

Being involved in theatre at the University has changed Brickey, she said.

“When I first came here I was just naïve to just the audition process and the collegiate level of theatre,” Brickey said. “I feel like I made a complete transition.”

Brickey became more driven and more appreciative of people during her time at the University, she said.

“[It’s] helped me to appreciate the people involved in all aspects of theatre,” Brickey said.

Toney and Brickey will be in Abundance, a University production which premieres in February.

When Brickey graduates, she plans to pursue a career in theatre. She wants to settle down in New York and hopefully one day be on Broadway, she said.

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