Megan Ruprecht



Focus: Global Health and Anthropology
High School: British International School of Chicago
Studio Be Student: 2013-2015

I first wandered into Studio Be the summer before my Junior year to take a Shakespeare immersion class. Taking this course ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Studio Be gave me a community and a group of people who love me unconditionally. Even though I’m not studying theatre, the lessons I learned at Studio Be will stay with me forever. Beyond the typical theatre lessons of scoring monologues and textual analysis, Studio Be taught me to be bold, stand up tall and be confident, and, most importantly, gave me the passion to be who I am today. My current dream job is to work at the World Health Organization, helping to spread women’s health care around the world, and I wouldn’t have this dream if it weren’t for Studio Be.

DeRogatis Headshot2


Major: B.F.A. Musical Theater

High School: Lincoln Park High School (Drama Major)

Studio Be Attendee: January 15th, 2012-July 25th, 2015


When I found Studio Be, I was a freshman in high school with very little theatrical experience, and very low self-esteem. I auditioned for Les Miserables and to my amazement, actually got cast! It was my first show, and it was there that I fell in love with theater and decided I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I fell in love with the atmosphere of Studio Be, the people, the talking circles, and all they taught me about theater, life, and myself. At Studio Be, I learned theater etiquette, how to act, how to sing, and how to embrace who I am as a person. I played a diverse range of roles: Babet/Whore #3 in Les Miserables, Dr. Fogg in Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Boyle in The Mousetrap, Mrs. Tilford in The Children’s Hour, Officer O’Hara in Arsenic and Old Lace, Lenya in Fools, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, and more. With every role, I discovered something new about acting and also about myself. Studio Be was an outlet for me in high school for me to express myself and work through issues I was facing at school and at home, and I wholeheartedly believe that without Studio Be, I wouldn’t have gotten in to my college Acting programs. Studio Be prepared me amazingly for college, my freshman year alone I’ve been cast in five different productions. I know that I’ll always have a family who will be super excited to see me when I’m back home at Studio Be, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Ms. Tamara, Mr. West, and my chosen-family.

Grace Sopko

Major: BFA Musical Theatre
High School: York Community High School
Studio BE Attendee 2011-2015

I came to Studio Be my freshman year to be a part of Les Mis. I’ll never forget walking into rehearsal feeling like “that suburban kid” but then knowing immediately that it was a special place where no one was out casted. Studio Be gave me a home away from home where I knew that I could always come and be loved—all my flaws included. I was in Les Miserables, Aida, Grease (Marty) and Addams Family (Alice) and with each experience I had at the Be I learned something vital and unique that not only helped me grow as a performer, but as a person as well. Currently, I’m continuing my study of musical theatre at Drake University. I’m so grateful of everyone I’ve met at Studio Be and so thankful for how it has shaped me into the person I am today.

 Emily Beckert 3

EMILY BECKERT. HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE.Focus: Theatre for social engagement, possible directing or playwriting major

High School: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

Studio Be- 2011-2015



I found Studio BE through my best friend Kiah. We had been doing children’s theatre together since the 1st grade, and Studio BE found us at the perfect time in our lives. My first production was Ragtime in summer of 2011. I was painfully shy, had little to no real self-esteem, and clung to my best friend who I believed to be my only friend. Gradually, working with Ms. Tamara and making older friends and other friends in general, I began to emerge from my shell, and once I found my voice Mr. West taught me how to use it. I found a community in Studio-BE where I felt comfortable just being myself. I learned a lot about personal expression and the real-world necessity of theatre from Tamara, who has been a mentor/close friend to all of us. I feel so profoundly impacted by my time at Studio-BE, and the family that found me. I plan on studying theatre in some capacity, I’m not sure which yet but I know I cannot possibly live without it. At Hampshire I am a very active member of the theater community, I’ve had roles in two major productions just in my first year, and I am a member of Theatre Board, the student council for the Theatre Department.


Major: Acting BFA, ’19
Studio Be Attendee: 2010-2014

Studio BE for me was (and continues to be) a training facility not only for your craft but for your growth as a free thinking, colorful
and empathetic person. My roots at Studio BE begin mainly with an active participation in musicals that the program has to offer during
the school year. Little Shop of Horrors ,Sweeney Todd, Urinetown, and Ragtime are some of my absolute favorites. Within these shows, I was taught how to effectively communicate in the rehearsal process with my directors and fellow cast mates, and experience what it was like to be in a full fledged run of a show. As I got older, I grew closer to straight plays and components of theatre that are not performance based. Tamara Drew and Robert Eric West allowed me to explore many of these facets of theatre. I controlled the spotlight for Les Miserables, assisted with makeup for many of the younger children’s shows, and participated in devising performance opportunities.  In 2013, I along with a few other active Studio BE members enacted the first “Youth Arts Council”, a council that drove to solidify and strengthen community relationships and start to plan fundraising events for the company. Throughout the rest of time with the company, I performed in The Real Queen of Hearts Ain’t Even Pretty and The Children’s Hour. Studio BE has and will continue to be a large component of the artist and person I am today.


Arleigh Truesdale 2



Major: B.A.Theater, B.A. Environmental Studies: Arts & Humanities
High School: Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Studio Be Student: 2012-2015
Studio Be, for the awkward and unconfident highschooler I was upon entering, was the ideal breeding ground for artistic expression and self development. As someone yearning for a place to let go of all the pressures inherent in adolescent life, I was thrilled to find myself in a community that is attentive, inclusive, and extremely passionate about developing fantastic and knowledgeable human beings. My first role as Ms. Casewell in The Mousetrap, pulled me into the theater world where I then played Karen Wright in The Children’s Hour, Johnathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Sandy in Grease, Sherri Lee Speer in The Real Queen of Hearts Ain’t Even Pretty, and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. Like many other Studio Be performers, I assisted with costume construction and set building for various shows. As I continue working within the Theater department I hold dear the valuable communication skills I learned at the Be. Though a recent 2015 graduate, I plan to return to the Be in the future to work on upcoming shows!



Naomi 1

Major: Mathematics; Gender Studies, & Teacher Certification Program
High School: Lane Tech College Prep
Studio BE Attendee: 2011-2014
 After graduating from Studio BE: Youth Revolution in 2014, Naomi came back to work as Stage Manager in the summer of 2015 because she missed it too much. She thanks SBYR for igniting her passion to teach and giving her continual support and creative outlooks. Naomi cites Tamara Drew and Robert Eric West as pillars of unending encouragement as they continue to support her. SBYR has taught her the importance of a well-rounded and socially conscious education, something she plans to bring into her future classrooms. Expect to see Naomi working hard and giving back to her community in the same ways that SBYR taught her.
Jojo Alum
Major: B.F.A. Acting 
 High School: Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts)
 Studio BE Attendee 2009-2014
 Never would I have thought that by eighteen I’d be dabbling in professional theatre.
I came to Studio BE in the eighth grade, and at that point I was one of the youngest people involved. The wonderful instructors (Tamara, Robert Eric West, and many many others) fostered my potential, and helped me to become so very comfortable onstage, and more importantly: to become comfortable being free.
At the BE, I had the opportunity to play Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, challenging my vocal ability in a big way. Getting to play Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and Anthony in Sweeney Todd taught me so much about character relationships, and connecting honestly onstage.
Studio BE provided me much more than that. Studio BE taught me that family is not something you are inherently born into. The BE is a community of caring, loving peers, and the adults behind it go to great lengths to nurture true empathy. Reflecting on the lowest and darkest points of my short life thus far, the BE has saved me, many times. We’ve faced tragedy and devastation, and we’ve come out unified.
Now I am an acting major at The School of Theatre & Music at UIC, and I am networking in the professional theatre world of Chicago. I have had the wonderful opportunity to perform in documentary-drama productions at the American Theater Company, including The People’s Temple, Goldstar Ohio, (as a Resident Youth Ensemble Member) and my professional debut: understudying for the one-man twenty-character play, Let Me Down Easy. I was even asked by About Face Theater to act in a workshop staged-reading of a brand-new documentary play called Standing Underneath Night and Day. I could not have gotten this far (as an actor, but more emphatically as a whole person) were it not for this beautiful community; Were it not for Tamara Drew, Robert Eric-West, and all of the people who help make this collective BE what it is. Nothing can drive me away from this place.
AmySoriaHS. (1)
High School: St. Benedict High School, Lincoln Park High School
Studio BE Attendee: 2010-2014
Studio BE will always have a place in my heart like no other. I remember my first time participating in one of the BE’s infamous talking circles- it was my first time meeting most of the other students and instructors, and I could not be more grateful for the outpouring of love and acceptance I received that day (and continue to receive to this day). It was then that I realized Studio BE is not ONLY an amazing training facility for youths interested in pursuing a career in theatre and/or musical theatre, but ALSO a community for youths just seeking support and love and folks they can call their second family. It was because of that that I got so happy when the amazing Ms. Tamara contacted me my freshmen year of high school and asked me to fill in for a performer in The Jungle Book who couldn’t make a few shows. Since then, I’ve performed in Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, Broadway at the BE, Les Mis, The Children’s Hour, Arsenic & Old Lace, Twisted Creation, Aida, and Grease. It was through the direction from our wonderful instructors Ms. Tamara and Mr. West in which I grew not only as an actor, but as an individual, who finally found her face. Upon graduating from Studio BE, I’ve become a freelance Chicago actor, a teaching artist and student mentor with Windy City Music Theatre, and an instructor at Ravenswood Elementary School with CCAP. I have all my friends and family and teachers from Studio BE to thank for directing me toward my calling. Much love!


Nat Kier Alumn

Major: Theatre

High School: St. Ignatius College Prep

Studio BE Attendee 2012-2013

High school theatre’s great, but you’re always working with a limited pool of performers.  Studio BE brings together people from across the Chicagoland area, forming a diverse community of talented oddballs that never stops growing.  The students and staff at Studio BE welcomed me with open arms, and I was honored to befriend and work with teens from a wide variety of high schools and backgrounds.  Studio BE aims high, takes its work seriously, and has faith in the complete potential of each performer.  I had the pleasure of working on three especially challenging musicals here (Les Mis, Sweeney Todd, and Aida), and each production pushed me further as a singer, an actor, a singer-actor, and an all-around theatre artist.  Thanks to the BE’s marvelous instructors, I expanded my physical, vocal, and emotional ranges to places I never thought they would go.  Studio BE has an incredible sense of balance: between tapping into our emotions and using practical techniques, between social commentary and entertainment value, between developing relationships in a warm environment and putting on as professional a show as possible.  At Northwestern, where theatre courses, a liberal arts education, social growth and an endless array of student productions collide, I’m always keeping balance in mind.  Thankfully, Studio BE has given me valuable artistic and life skills, a sense of ambition and dedication, and lifelong friends who have enriched my world.



Maya Blackstone.  Tufts University.  Boston, MA
Major: Theatre and Peace and Justice Studies

High School: The University of Chicago Lab School

Studio BE Attendee 2009-2013


Before Studio Be, theater for me was always a “spectator sport.” I loved watching others perform, but I was always too shy to participate. At Studio Be, the individual attention and support I got from the faculty gave me confidence to step out of my comfort zone. The community at Studio Be gave me the chance to meet kids from all different backgrounds, and some of my fondest memories took place backstage. Studio Be also taught me that theater can be about more than just landing the lead. In Studio Be’s production of “Les Miserables,” I played a character with no lines at all. I learned to look at my part as an opportunity to create my own character and story out of nothing; the ensemble was there to teach me when to make my choices stand out and blend in. Studio Be’s shows also often related to larger societal themes. The characters I’ve played in shows like Les Mis and Ragtime let me step into histories and revolutions that I otherwise never could. Discussions at Studio Be compelled me to examine my own world through my characters’ eyes, and to understand that issues of racism and oppression that my characters faced are still present today. In college I realized that the empathy I learned in theatre at Studio Be could be applied to understanding literary characters and even political conflicts. To put it briefly, at Studio Be I was not only taught how to act on stage but also in the real world.



Major:  BFA Musical Theatre, Class of 2017
Highschool: The Chicago High School for the Arts (Musical Theatre Major, Class of 2013)
Studio Be Attendee: 2009-2013

Some of the greatest memories of my childhood involve laughing, crying, performing, learning and growing alongside the staff and students of Studio Be: Youth Revolution. As a performer, I was artistically challenged. I have never had more fun while learning and crafting my art. Being one of Studio Be’s first students, I have worked on a plethora of productions/roles including RENT as Maureen, Romeo and Juliet as Friar Lawrence/Sampson, Ragtime as Mother, Little Shop Of Horrors as Crystal, Sweeney Todd as Mrs. Lovett, The Children’s Hour as Lily Mortar and AIDA as Amneris. Although I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities I was given to play these roles, I am even more thankful that Studio BE helped me become the person who I am today; which is probably the most difficult character work anyone can ever do. Studio BE encourages it’s students to be humble, mindful and worldly. One of Studio Be’s priorities is making hard workers out of their students, whether they decide to pursue theatre as a profession or not. My experience at Studio Be has been a unique roller coaster ride full of ups and downs with many bumps along the way. But at the end of the day, I thank them for helping me become a well rounded human being who is more than an aspiring performer. The Studio Be Community is truly a family and I am so grateful to forever be a part of that family.


Major: Acting, BFA
High School: Lincoln Park High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2013

I am a junior BFA Acting Major at Millikin University. I have worked on student run shows during my time here at Millikin, and these have been some of my favorite experience because I am able to help my peers with their craft as well as work on mine. This past summer I had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and take an amazing play analysis class called “Who am I in Italia”, and it reminded me a lot about Studio BE because we had a lot of discussions that were just like talking circles. I recently was in Millikin University’s New Musicals Work Shop this winter where I worked on new works written by Millikin Alumni. Aside from theatre, I am part of Pi Beta Phi, Illinois Eta fraternity for women.  As I write this bio all I can think about is how I could not have done any of this if it wasn’t for my Studio BE family.



High School: Jones College Prep
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011

Throughout my childhood I participated in theatre and performance, but before Studio BE it was nothing more than being on a stage, in front of an audience. But with the help of my teachers, mentors, and fellow learners at Studio BE I realized that theatre was so much more than that. It doesn’t have to be something that you just do for yourself, it’s a way to connect to other types of people, to learn about their lives. Needless to say I also learned a lot about myself. I learned that I love singing just as much as I love acting (though I’m not very good at it). I also learned that I can be myself around anyone! Participating in studio be have me a huge confidence boost, but maybe more importantly what it gave me was a-whole-nother family. As one of the original Studio BE’ers I’m extremely appreciative of the creative outlet it gave me during the crucial years of middle and high school. I guess I could call myself a first generation Studio BE’er. Right now I’m studying at Occidental College (a small liberal arts college) in Los Angeles. When I’m not studying or working for the yearbook, I’m dancing. I dance 5 out of the 7 days a week, I go to classes on and off campus, I practice for a huge dance show that we have here called “Dance Production,” and I dance with a company/crew based out of my school called Hyper Xpressions (HX for short :))! I also have a leadership position in HX, managing public relations- trying to get our name out there. I’m not certain what my major will be (I’m only a freshman!) but I know I want to do something with politics. I’m very interested in social justice and am pleased with the amount of students, professors, and staff members that are interested in activism here at Oxy. Change isn’t just about policy, it’s also about consciousness. That’s what studio be taught me. Being more conscious about people that are different than me, but knowing not to treat them any different.

High School: Lane Tech College Prep
Studio BE Attendee 2010-2012

Studio Be has probably been the single greatest thing to happen to me so far in my short 19 years of life. It is there that I have met my closest friends, started developing my craft in a safe and welcoming environment, and had some of my most memorable experiences. Through Studio Be, I grew more as a person and performer than I thought possible in such a short amount of time. Without Studio Be, I’m sure of the fact that I would not have gotten into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. My teachers guided me and pushed me every chance they had. They helped me develop confidence in myself as a performer and at the same time provided me with an atmosphere overflowing with love. Now I’m in my freshman year at NYU majoring in musical theatre and I always think back to my training with Studio Be. The work here is rigorous and, at times, incredibly overwhelming but I know I have a team of support back home cheering me on. I wouldn’t be half as prepared for this journey if it wasn’t for them. I’m hoping to pursue a career in theatre in the future and I know I will always be able to say that Studio Be was the trigger I needed to send me on my creative journey.

Major: FILM
High School: Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2012

First and foremost, I have had some of the best experiences and made some of the best friends in my time at the be. I’ve always loved theatre, and although I am pursuing film in college, studio BE has taught me so much (not only about theatre) that can be carried over to my major and to many more facets of my life. I have learned how to network and be more sociable and open, as well as growing as a performer and especially as a singer. I have also learned how to look at things through a global and sociological lens. Social issues have always been an important part of learning at the Be. Even though I am not directly pursuing theatre, my dream is to adapt worthy stage plays and musicals into films, and make them more accessible. With the knowledge I have gained at studio BE and knowledge I will gain in college, I can make this dream a reality. I really have so much to thank Studio BE for and I really hope that I can continue the relationship I have with the BE. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a film department!

Chicago Human Rhythm Project 2013 Tap Scholar, Time Brickey

Chicago Human Rhythm Project 2013 Tap Scholar, Time Brickey


Major: Music Business w/ Voice Focus
High School: Unschooled~
Studio BE Attendee: 2009-2012

Studio BE has contributed to my life in more ways than I care to share with the public. If there’s one thing that’s clear to me in this case, it’s that when someone becomes part of the BE family, change is set to occur. My first week with this insane group had me challenging my then very intense fear of heights (or rather, falling) by learning to walk on stilts. It was a powerful experience, as one would hope. I was at one point presented with a talking stick, something that would quickly become, in my opinion, the most important part of BE tradition. I didn’t like having my boundaries pushed, by being told to… talk… to people. But the talking circle shaped us, and gave us an avenue through which we could trust our fellow, uh… Beople. One of the most important traits that any ensemble or team can foster is a high level of trust, and we definitely had that. Around that core, Studio BE’s learning environment thrives. Tamara and them facilitate the social growth of BE students by bringing up troubling issues. As we built larger understandings of the world around us, we found better ways to communicate that out to audiences. I think that’s pretty cool. Studio BE, or Tamara in specific, introduced me to tap dancing, which has become the central focus of my life. I’ve been inspired through my time at the BE, and have been lucky enough to have trained with dancers such as Ted Louis Levy, and Dianne Walker after leaving. I would never have been able to branch out in the directions that I have if not for Studio BE, and I’m grateful for that.

Who am I? How do I know? What do I do?


High School: Mather High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011

(Director, GREASE Summer 2014) recieved her BFA in Acting and a Music Minor in Vocal Performance at Millikin University. China was one of Studio Be’s first students and performed in Jason and the ArgonautsRent as Joanne, Romeo and Juliet as Tybalt, Ragtime as Sarah, and Little Shop of Horrors. China has studied abroad with the British American Drama Academy and The Globe Theatre’s Education Program as well as having been a member of Lookinglass Theatre’s Young Ensemble. She has also received recognition for stage combat in four weapons from the Society of American Fight Directors including hand to hand, broadsword, single sword, and sword and shield.  With her university she has performed in Hair as well as three productions on Millikin’s Mainstage includingMacbeth as a Witch, Spring Awakening as an ensemble member and Martha’s Understudy, and most recently Legally Blonde as Pilar. She is extremely excited to come back to work for the program that made her fall in love with theatre, specifically theatre with an objective to help grow those in and around it to inform communities and change the world for the better!

High School: Guerin Prep
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011


Studio BE will always have a special place in my heart. I was in the first group of kids to start taking classes there and doing the productions. At that point in my life, I really started to love theater. I decided to go to college for it. I owe a lot of my life and my choices to the things I learned there. The amount of friends that became my family because of that place is astounding. I still talk to a good chunk of those people, which is actually a big deal for me because I kind of like being a hermit. I loved the teachers. I learned teachers are people there. Yes, teachers are people but the BE made me see a person behind the authority. My teachers became my mentors and my friends. I’m awful at articulating my brain feels but I’ll try. I learned so much there. But it was always more than a class or a rehearsal. Yes, I learned how to become a more technical dancer. Yes, I learned how to belt my face off. Yes, I was cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and every night I had to cry and scream and fall in love and I did it damn well. But that isn’t all I took away from the BE. They gave me a completely new family, full of many different people I care for deeply. They taught me things about life that I eventually got. They taught me how to be a better person and I believe that’s the most important lesson.


High School: St. Benedict High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011




High School: St. Benedict High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011


High School: Lane Tech College Prep
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2012

I have loved the thrill of performing in musical theatre since I was seven years old. It is a passion that has never died and makes me feel complete as a person. I continued to pursue it and participated every chance I got.  I got to high school and it was a fun extra-curricular activity, I never looked at musical theatre beyond that, though. I saw it as only as an after school activity that I enjoyed, but never seriously considered as a profession.  Then by some wonderful twist of fate, I found Studio BE, through of all things, Facebook. I walked in for the first time and instantly felt accepted.  I auditioned for Rent, was cast and was elated to be a part of the process. Through that experience the whole cast became really close and I gained a second family. I was so passionate about Studio BE, I decided to tell my very talented friend, Ana, about it, and She loves the BE as much as I do. Then, came the summer and the show we were putting on was Ragtime. I was not familiar with the show so I wasn’t really expecting to get a big role or anything. I fell in love with the character Emma Goldman and worked really hard to prove I was right for this particular role, and I got the part! Ragtime is an extremely difficult show and the rehearsal process was quite rigorous. The end result though was magic, and we even managed to make my usually non-emotional mother, bawl her eyes out. By the end of that experience I realized what I accomplished and I knew that I had found my calling and that I wanted to do musical theatre for a living. I also learned that next summer when we did Urinetown that I had the ability to hit a high G, a feat I would have considered impossible years before. I gained so much knowledge and confidence in myself as a performer. I went to Western Illinois University for a semester and I realized it was not the school for me so I decided to transfer and moved back home and finished my freshman year at community college and ended up enrolling in my final Studio BE production, Les Mis. When I set foot in the BE for the first time in months the reception I received was so warm and it was as though I never left.  I learned in more ways than one you can always come back home. I am currently attending DePaul University majoring in communications and media with plans to persue a career in the arts. There have been many cheerful times at Studio BE and there have been not cheerful times. Through personal turmoil such as my parents’ divorce where I had the full support of my BE Family, and the heartbreaking loss of one of our own family members that we all drew from each other’s strength and pushed through together. We are also there to celebrate all of our victories together, and we have a community where in a usually competitive activity everyone genuinely wants everyone to succeed.  I have been truly blessed to find this place, and to meet such amazing people who have made me a better person. The members of the BE community have given me the courage to go after my biggest dreams and I cannot thank the whole BE community enough for that.

High School: Mather High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2011




High School: Lane Tech College Prep
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2010




High School: Chicago Academy for the Arts (Major: Writing)
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2012
Colin Monahan


High School: Whitney Young Magnet High School
Studio BE Attendee 2009-2010