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Emma Gandor and Rose Wardlow

Marietta College's Emma Gandor '26 (Marietta, Ohio) and Rose Wardlow '25 (Georgetown, Ohio) - two talented actors - made quite the impression at the prestigious Musical Theatre Intensive in downtown Pittsburgh.

They impressed the judges and advanced to the finals, a remarkable feat for these promising performers.

"I was thrilled to hear Rose and Emma's names called when the finalists for the Musical Theatre Intensive competition were announced," said Melissa Grande, Chair of the Department of Theatre. "It is a testament to their work ethic and talent that they were part of the elite group of 20 who were chosen out of 93 entrants. It also speaks to the excellence of the training that we offer at Marietta College, and I'm proud to be a part of that."

Gandor said participating in the MTI competition, which was held from January 24-27 in and around the Hilton DoubleTree, was an eye-opening experience for her.

"As I have never done anything like it, I was unsure of what to expect and quite nervous," said Gandor, an English and Musical Theatre major. "However, it ended up being an amazing experience. I learned a lot not only from the responders, coaches, and judges but also from my peers who I got to meet and exchange experiences and interests with."

Gandor also received an MTI Commendation for Comedic Performance.

"When I first found out that I had advanced in the competition, I was shocked. I did not imagine that my video would have gotten picked out of almost 100 other submissions," Gandor said. "Furthermore, I certainly did not expect to receive an award for my performance. The experience almost felt like a dream."

Wardlow said the opportunity was daunting yet exciting.

"The day we got to Pittsburgh, I had convinced myself that I would not have progressed to the final round, not from a perspective of insecurity, just a reflection of probability, as 100 people had submitted auditions," she said. "You can imagine my immense surprise to hear not only my name, but my friend Emma Gandor's name, as two of the 20 people who would go on to be MTI finalists! It was the burst of energy I needed to carry me through the conference."

Grande said 18 current students and two former students attended MTI. Gandor and Wardlow said the experience could lead to new opportunities.

"Any form of connection in the theatre industry is quintessential to success," said Wardlow, a Musical Theatre major. "I have the contact information of many wonderful individuals I ardently desire to work with again, as the collective mere minutes we worked together were efficient and beneficial. It was also great to practice my art in a context outside of Marietta College; the skills I have been taught here do carry over into the professional scape."

Gandor added, "I now have an experience such as MTI under my belt. It will definitely benefit me in the future, as many of my teachers say with every performance/experience a performer becomes less nervous and more equipped."