Anderson University alumna Meaghan Sands is not appearing in only one production on the stage of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, but two.
If that doesn’t seem like enough of a challenge, she acts the part of seven different characters in "It’s a Wonderful Life."
“I keep running backstage, changing costumes, and running back out a different person,” said Sands during a phone interview between rehearsals. “A couple of them are pretty stressful. I even have to rip off my wig.”
[Photo: Meaghan Sands stars as the Blue Fairy, along with Danny Kingston as the main character, in “Pinocchio, ”playing through Nov. 19 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis.]
Since graduating with a degree in voice performance in December, Sands has spent a good deal of time on the stage. In addition to her work at Beef & Boards, she has also performed with the Indianapolis Opera in the productions of “La Traviata” and “Madama Butterfly.”
“I really want to blur the lines between genres,” she said. “Some people think it’s important to be specific in your type of genre, but I would like to do everything. I would like to sing opera and soul in the same song.”
This versatility serves her well as she shifts gears between her many characters in the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which runs through Nov. 20, and her role as the Blue Fairy in “Pinocchio,” which ends Nov. 19.
Originally from northern New York state (about 20 minutes from the Canadian border), Sands was drawn to this area after a car accident interrupted her dance major at a state school. A friend beckoned her to the Hoosier state, where she found a home at AU.
Although she plans to return to New York eventually, she is currently enjoying her work in Indiana and her home in Anderson.
“I really like it here right now, and I am learning a lot from these experiences,” she said. “There are some fine actors right here, and I’m always a student. I’m always watching somebody.”
With 11 performances each week, she is quickly chalking up experience points. And, when she needs a little extra encouragement, her professors are nearby and willing to help.
“I feel like they are family now,” she said. “When you go back to Anderson University, that’s how everybody is — like family. I made arrangements to continue to take voice from Fritz Robertson and Laurel Goetzinger, and they helped me develop some of the lines in the show that felt unnatural.”
Knowing this kind of support is nearby, her plans of traveling to New York or Chicago are distant and hazy. Still she is confident that she has chosen the perfect career.
“It’s what I love,” she said. “There’s nothing I’d rather do than this. This is the best thing I could have hoped for.”
— Emma Bowen Meyer for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.