When Becca Hart ’14 graduated from St. Olaf College, she went into the professional world with starry-eyed hope and confidence. Now, she stars in children’s theater productions, works in the publishing industry, and is a freelance illustrator.
Hart is currently performing a leading role in the world premiere production of “An American Tail the Musical” at the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis.
“An American Tail the Musical” is based on the 1984 Steven Spielberg animated film “An American Tail.” In the production, Fievel Mousekewitz arrives in New York City after being separated from his family during their forced immigration from Russia. The musical expands on the original by adding new songs and characters.
Since this is a never-before-seen musical production, Hart said there is less pressure to perform a specific way. Some of her favorite parts of the production is that her characters are animals, and that she has freedom to experiment with their movement. “I feel like I’m playing cartoon characters, so that’s been really artistically delightful,” Hart said.
The cast is composed of both adults and children. Hart said that while most of the adults are familiar with the original movie, some of the kids still haven’t seen it. “It’s cool that [there are] kids who have watched it and know it by heart and [there are] kids who haven’t seen it,” Hart said. “Both of those perspectives are welcome in this space because we’re making it our own.”
Hart also balances two other jobs on the side — she manages authors at Beaver’s Pond Press and is a freelance illustrator.
Despite her recent success in the theater world, Hart was not a theater major at St. Olaf. Instead, she studied English, visual arts, and education.
“One of the things I liked about St. Olaf was that I could do theater without being a major. I’ve always loved theater,” Hart said. “I never planned to rely on it financially, and I still don’t really — it is one of my two jobs.”
Hart credits her St. Olaf education for her time management skills and ability to make careers out of her multiple interests. “I am very grateful for St. Olaf because I think I took the liberal arts education and just made that my life,” Hart said.“Upon graduating, I felt completely empowered [to] make my own path. I have these multiple interests, but I will find time for them in my life.”
As seniors look beyond graduation, Hart’s biggest piece of advice is to make connections with other Ole grads. “Reach out. If you find out there is an Ole in your field, we love to talk to other people,” she said.“Wear the logo proudly on your shoulder in hopes that someone is going to stop you — they will.”
Hart has found ways to make her passion and hobbies careers, and she shows no signs of stopping. She has truly embraced the “Oles Can. Oles Will” mindset.
“An American Tail the Musical” will run now through June 18 at at CTC’s UnitedHealth Group Stage. Ticket prices begin at 15 dollars. Visit https://childrenstheatre.org/whats-on/an-american-tail-22-23/ for more information.
Photo credit: 775 American Tail – ” Becca Hart (Digit) and Company in the World Premiere of An American Tail the Musical at Children’s Theatre Company. Photo: Glen Stubbe Photography. “