BFA freshman Jordon Rucker is a member of the inaugural class in our Musical Theatre program, created in conjunction with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and the USC Thornton School of Music. The School briefly caught up with Rucker to discuss his first few months in triple-threat training at USC, and how he takes advantage of all his resources, both on campus and in Los Angeles at large.
SDA: Where are you from?
Rucker: I am from Atlanta, GA.
SDA: What program are you in at SDA? Why did you choose that program?
Rucker: I am in the Musical Theatre BFA. I chose this program because it is new to USC, which means it gives [my cohort] the opportunity to be trailblazer[s] for this program and for the many students that will follow after we’re long gone.
SDA: In what specific areas are you hoping to take advantage of the holistic nature of the program, in that it encompasses three disciplines?
Rucker: USC has established three illustrious and acclaimed schools: SDA, Kaufman, and Thornton. These schools’ resources, facilities, faculty, and staff provide me with ample opportunity for growth and development throughout my undergraduate career. I plan to consistently take advantage of the wealth of information at my whim, whether it is through singing, dancing, or acting.
SDA: Can you speak on your bond with your cohort?
Rucker: The bond within our cohort is very beautiful– it’s like no other program I have witnessed. Out of the 14 students, more than half are people of color, which is rare in a theatre program, especially a musical theatre program. Be it that our backgrounds are different, we all share and learn so much from each other, and that informs how we work as a whole. We function on the premise of empathy and kindness, because we may not know each other’s experiences firsthand, but we put that aside and care for one another regardless.
SDA: What is your favorite thing about the faculty at SDA? Has one professor had a profound impact on you?
Rucker: My favorite thing about the faculty for my program is that they are 100 percent invested in the growth of all of us individually. Specifically, I can speak about the head of the program, Kenneth Noel Mitchell. He has participated in the creation of many other programs around the country and has told us that his goal is to make this program his best work. He is dedicated to helping each and every one of us fulfill our potential and more, and he does it out of a place of love, which I greatly appreciate.
SDA: How has SDA changed your outlook on theatre?
Rucker: SDA has furthered my understanding that theatre is not about the individual. It is not about who is the most talented or the most popular, but rather, it is about family. Each and every aspect of a show — the production crew, lights, sound, costume, set, and the actors — all have an equal job and responsibility when it comes to making a good show. We must be together for everything to run smoothly.
SDA: How has your SDA education informed other creative endeavors: dance, film, etc.?
Rucker: Although the major is housed in SDA, I have the luxury of studying in many different schools, and what I have gathered is that all of these art forms help and inform each other. Being within the contemporary triple threat program, I am pushed to be adept in all three languages that I am studying, and I’m discovering that the knowledge of one art form is translatable to another.