The Spotlight

McKenzie Lansing 

Hannah Perry

When Senior McKenzie Lansing started high school, she knew she wanted to be involved in speech and theatre. During her freshman year, she thought being in choir was a requirement to star in musicals. Therefore, she started out her journey in musical theatre by working as a stage crew member for The Wizard of Oz. Later that year, she performed in a play and was also encouraged by her friends to audition for a musical. With the push from her friends, she went on to pursue performing for the rest of high school.  

“It was upperclassmen and meeting different people that encouraged me that this was something I enjoyed doing and that I have a passion in it,” Lansing said. “I think that passion has been there my whole life, but it was rediscovered a little bit when I was in high school.” 

During Senior McKenzie Lansing’s college search, she visited 11 schools before coming to Buena Vista University. She knew she wanted to join a theatre department and find a new home within it. When she arrived for a campus visit, she fell in love with the school and even more with the theatre department.    

“After a second visit, I met David and Bethany and they reminded me a lot of my theatre directors in high school, which also made me feel at home,” Lansing said.   

Diving into preforming right away, Lansing scored a role in Spamalot and served as a dance captain for the show. She later starred in Magic Theatre and travelled to elementary schools to showcase the interactive children’s play. Continuing to build her experience in working backstage, performing, teaching choreography, and singing, she was inducted into the Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society and currently serves as the president. 

“APO is kind of a theatre club on campus, so if there’s anything going on with theatre, I’m the person that communicates that to students who are interested or don’t know about anything going on,” Lansing said.  

Although she’s been working on various theatre-related talents since high school, the one thing Lansing hasn’t had the opportunity to do is direct a show.  

“Pre-COVID, I was in a directing class that was being taught by Bethany,” Lansing said. “The final for that class was a directing showcase. However, because of COVID, I didn’t get the opportunity to direct but we were in the process of working toward that step.” 

Besides not being able to show off her directing skills last semester, the COVID-19 pandemic has also made Lansing realize how much she missed being onstage. After months of not performing, she recently auditioned for the theatre department’s upcoming show The MOST Bizarre Production. 

“It was very strange to me because I felt out of my element,” Lansing said. “Just being in the theatre was a little surreal. Not doing it is kind of hard and I feel like I’m missing out on my family.” 

Throughout her time in the theatre department, Lansing credits the people she’s met and the connections that have been made as the most rewarding part of being a performer. Looking back at her first year, she remembers hearing the inside jokes of upperclassmen and not understanding them, only to get closer with them and make new ones. Even after watching several of her friends graduate, she continues to keep in touch with them and will always value the friendship they created at BVU.  

“I wasn’t worried about coming to college because I knew I was going to be involved in theatre, so I already knew I had a place at BV, and I had a home and a family. It’s like my built-in family, essentially,” said Lansing.