Zane Hadish '22

Zane Hadish ’22
Music MajorZane Hadish dressed as Charlie Chaplin for his upcoming production of Chaplin.

Zane Hadish plays Charlie Chaplin in the Revival Theatre Company production of Chaplin: The Musical, running May 30–June 2, 2019.

MMU: Tell us about your journey to MMU. When looking to attend, why did you feel MMU’s musical department could support your goals? 

ZH: Back in 2016, I was asked to participate in the brand-new show choir at Mount Mercy directed by Mr. Kent Keating, who was my former high school choir director. As someone who participated in show choir in middle school and high school, I was delighted to join! I was also involved with the show choir in 2017. As the 2018–19 school year approached, I wanted to expand my knowledge in the fine arts, particularly in music. I’ve always been fascinated with music, whether it be performing, conducting, or composing. I was aware of some of the directors at Mount Mercy, due to previously working with them in the past—like Mr. Keating and Dr. Gerald Kreitzer. However, there were many other wonderfully gifted and talented professors I hadn’t been able to work with such as Dr. Daniel Kleinknicht and Dr. Melinda Westphalen, whom I’ve had the honor of getting to know over the past school year. Each one looks out for their students and always strives to help reach the goals of Mount Mercy’s fine arts program as well as the personal musical goals of the students.

MMU: In what ways has your past prepared you for this role, and how has MMU’s musical department helped in your preparation?

ZH: Music has always been around me. I grew up in a very musically talented household. I think I get my sense of rhythm and metronomic feel from my father since he was more of an instrumentalist, primarily a percussionist and guitarist. I would say I get my voice from my mother who is a phenomenal singer and does a bit of song writing. In preparation, I had to memorize the script that was still receiving rewrites up until two weeks ago and learned to use more of my tenor voice. I also had dialect and violin lessons, body movement masterclasses, countless hours of research, watching all of his films, and so much more! The directors at Mount Mercy have constantly reminded me how important it is to focus during rehearsal time and that you should try to leave the room better than when you first walked into it. There are countless individuals who have encouraged me on my journey thus far—far too many to name. In short, all of my directors and friends and, most importantly, my family who has stuck by my side since the beginning.

MMU: Juggling a full course load is difficult on its own—how did you manage studying, work, and your theater schedule?

ZH: As someone who was a full-time student, working two jobs, rehearsing six–seven days a week in a professional theater setting, and being involved in multiple performing groups at Mount Mercy, I had to really dial in on what I was doing and how much time I would have to do it. My day would start at 3:30 AM when I’d wake up to go to work at UPS, then I might work at my other job at Texas Roadhouse, depending on my schedule. Then, throw in the mix of school and other late night rehearsals that sometimes went to midnight. I was constantly busy for about 20 hours every day. It’s tiring, but the one thing that always kept me going was the drive of filling my day with productivity. I distinctly remember during breaks at rehearsal or even intermissions during shows where I’d be working on papers for a writing or psychology class. It’s just something I had to do and I did. Now that it’s summer time, I have less on my plate school wise, which has allowed me to focus on my character development.

MMU: Can you walk us through the casting and rehearsal process? How did you feel when you learned you got the lead?

ZH: Auditions for Chaplin took place last August where several others and I went through numerous callbacks for the Revival Theatre Company 2019 season, including: 9 to 5, Chaplin: The Musical, and  Oklahoma.

As soon as they released the cast list I didn’t realize I was cast as Chaplin. I read right past it and saw the rest of the list. I was ecstatic for those who were cast in it, since I’d never worked with some of them before. The ones I had worked with added to that enjoyment as well. It was until I re-read the cast list that I saw my name and couldn’t believe it. It was a bittersweet moment for me.

MMU: What were some of the challenges in becoming Charlie Chaplin? What aspects came easier?

ZH: Learning how to move like the Little Tramp was difficult. Learning how to think like him was even harder. Differentiating Charlie Chaplin and the Tramp was an especially tricky task. The emotion behind the character, once I found reasoning for his actions and motives, made it easier for me to understand his phenomenal journey—from a poor kid begging on the streets of London, to his overnight success, and even his overcoming of being exiled from the United States.

MMU: What are you most looking forward to about the show? What should the audience be looking forward to?

ZH: The cast and orchestra are brilliant and pave the way for me to do what I need to do with my scenes. I think the process of rehearsals is something I look forward to the most, you really figure out a lot about your character and those around you and most importantly you figure out a lot about yourself as person.

Besides the fact that this is the regional premiere of the show, the stage is wonderfully designed, the lighting and projections are stunning, the costumes are ravishing, and the direction of layers and detailing is meticulous. The actors really dive in to tell the story at hand, and, out of all of those things, absolutely gorgeous music finds its way in the mix. If you’re a lover of musical theater or maybe even just want to get out for the weekend and try something new, come to the show! It’s filled with laughter and tears and all the great things that make a wonderful production!