Cary Tedder, University of Michigan Class of 2009, is the third recipient of the Actors' Equity/Alan Eisenberg Scholarship Award. Created by former Actors' Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, who is a University of Michigan alumnus, the award ($5,000) goes to a graduating senior in the University's Musical Theatre program.
"I feel deeply humbled for being considered for The Eisenberg," said Tedder. "I think I had hoped for it once, but never considered myself as a candidate for it, so it came as a bit of a surprise."
Tedder is beginning his ninth year of performing in musical theatre. His first role was playing Danny Zuko in Grease at Pine Mountain Middle School in Marietta, GA. "I was a cheerleader five years previous to that, so I knew a thing or two about movement, gymnastics, and showmanship, but I had never been exposed to singing and acting. I auditioned on a whim, and got the part."
Since then, Tedder has performed in over 10 musicals regionally and on Broadway. He enjoyed performing the roles of Ephraim in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at The MUNY and Action in West Side Story last summer at Pittsburgh CLO. "I have been chorus in many shows, but these two parts allowed me more creative input and provided more substance for creating a character. I especially enjoyed singing 'Officer Krupke.' I would aspire to create some roles of my own, as well as play characters who combine all three aspects of musical theatre. Ren in Footloose would be a good example."
His most memorable moment on stage was opening night of Beauty and the Beast at The Muny in 2005. "Just hearing those 11,000 people cheering and clapping; I remember thinking, 'This is why.'"
Even though Tedder has been performing for years, he still stayed in school and earned his degree. When asked if he would miss college, Tedder agreed that graduation can be daunting, but stated that he is "excited to begin using my skills to help me move forward."
"In school, at least at The University of Michigan, we always had an environment that felt like a family. We were surrounded by friends and faculty who were completely supportive as well as challenging to our needs and practice. However, New York City is full of Michigan Alum and I feel safe that if I ever need anything, I have a family who is here to help me with whatever I might need."
Receiving an award from a fellow University of Michigan Alum shows that this tight-knit community is a family that will always be there. For Tedder, the Eisenberg Award "is a reminder to me that dedication and perseverance bring great honors. For many years I have committed myself tirelessly to what I do. I am excited to continue forward with my learning and take this gift as part of my transition to life in New York City."
Tedder will begin his summer vacation working at St. Louis Muny (42nd Street, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Music Man and Hairspray) and then joining the cast of the Broadway bound Memphis when it begins rehearsal in August in New York City.