When Megan Farley was 5 years old, she wanted to be in the theater. She just didn’t know exactly how she was going to get there.
Growing up in Lima, Ohio, she was far from the glitz and glamour of Broadway. But the 2012 Ball State University graduate wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way.
“When I was in fifth grade, I joined band and choir, because that’s kind of what my parents did,” Ms. Farley said. “And then it wasn’t until I was in high school that I auditioned for the school musical, which was Fiddler on the Roof, and I got cast as one of the daughters, Tzeitzel, the oldest daughter. From then on, I knew this is the perfect combination of everything that I enjoy. Because I love dancing, music, and singing.”
As she progressed through middle and high school, those theater aspirations only became more apparent. And after applying to several universities, Ms. Farley found a perfect home at Ball State.
“When I came to visit [the] campus, I just got a really good vibe from the theater and dance faculty that I was meeting,” she said. “They really emphasized the whole family aspect of the program, and it was an environment I was drawn to. So that’s why I came here.”
Once she got on campus and integrated into the theater program, it didn’t take long for Ms. Farley to realize she had made the right choice. She said the variety of professors with whom she worked, and their different backgrounds, were among the things she valued most during her time at Ball State.
“It was exciting to feel a part of a big unit of like-minded artists,” Ms. Farley said. “Though I wish I had explored a bit more outside my own department, I was part of the Honors College, so I took some classes in humanities, things like that. I enjoyed my time in the College of Fine Arts.”
Eventually, Ms. Farley’s well-rounded talents in the theater setting began to draw some attention. About three years into her career, while performing in a production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, she had a conversation with a director and choreographer that would set her up with fulfilling opportunities behind the stage.
“I sat down and talked with her, and through that conversation, I became her assistant,” Ms. Farley said. “While I was performing in one of her shows, I was also assisting her with all of the pre-production for another—where you plan what the show is going to be prior to and during rehearsals and then you get to the tech process and ultimately put it all together.
“I was fortunate to repeat that cycle with many of her shows. I had a lot of opportunities because of her. And through those opportunities, I started asking for my own opportunities. I ended up landing a show that went to Broadway. Now, I’m living my dream working on Broadway.”
Ms. Farley is now the associate director for SIX the Musical — a new musical that premiered last year on Broadway.
“It’s kind of like a hot ticket. It really has this fan following. It is a very contemporary musical written about the Six Wives of Henry VIII,” Ms. Farley said of Six. “In it, the Wives have the opportunity to tell their stories from their perspective in the form of a pop concert. So, it’s very fun, very flashy, very popular. We’ve got a national tour this Spring. I’m busier than I’ve ever been.”
Ms. Farley’s theatrical experiences came full circle in November, when she choreographed and directed Bring It On: The Musical for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State, where she was reminded of the solid foundation, she built cutting her teeth in the world of theater.
“I would say that the relationships are probably the most special thing you get out of being here,” Ms. Farley said of Ball State. “I mean, obviously you’re going to learn the skills you need to know to be successful in the professional world. But I would say it’s important to lean into your developing network, because Ball State is such a special community.”