Nina Takacs’ musical talent comes quite naturally. Her father is a professor of piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and her mother is an active opera singer with a voice studio in Cleveland.
“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” said Takacs, a sophomore theatre major at The College of Wooster and a graduate of Solon High School. “My mother would harmonize at the dinner table and started giving me voice lessons in middle school.”
Takacs took her sassy soprano voice to the stage this summer, joining the cast of Ohio Light Opera for its 31st summer festival at the college. She appeared in six of the company’s seven productions, including “Fiddler on the Roof” and Gilbert & Sullivan favorites “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “Ruddigore.”
“I was looking for a professional theatre experience, and Ohio Light Opera provided a perfect opportunity,” said Takacs, who was joined by fellow Wooster students Phil McLeod, Jacqueline Komos, and Owen Reynolds on stage this summer. “My mother (Sharon Bennett-Shaffer) was a cast member with OLO in the early 1980s, and she said it was an ‘amazing experience.’
Takacs realized in high school that she had a special gift when, as a sophomore, she was cast as Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz” despite having to compete with a talented group of upperclass students. Her abilities continue to flourish, even though it took time for her to become comfortable on stage. The turning point came in her first year at Wooster when she watched a fellow performer take the stage with complete confidence. “That did it for me,” says Takacs. “I realized that in order to be successful, I had to get out there and say, ‘this is mine.’”
Although Takacs admits to having butterflies before each performance, she sees that as a good thing. “For me, being nervous means being ready,” she said. “I believe you have to be totally committed to go all out, or your won’t give the audience what it deserves.”
Takacs chose Wooster because of its reputation for excellence in academics. She knew she wanted to participate in theatre, but she wasn’t sure about declaring it as a major. At first she considered a double major in political science and theatre, but ultimately she decided to devote herself entirely to theatre. “I love musical theatre, and I would love to do more of it,” she says. “I also love repertory theatre.”
Takacs’ passion extends beyond the stage to encompass the complete theatre experience. “I have learned a lot about theory and analysis of text at Wooster,” she said. “It has taught me to be independent and to use every resource I have to create more opportunities.”
Most notably, Takacs has started a student Shakespeare group on campus. The nascent company put on “Romeo and Juliet” in February at the Underground (a gathering place for students on campus), and plans more productions in the future.
Takacs plans on being in the business for quite some time. “My ultimate goal is to act,” she said. “I don’t need to be rich and famous. I just want to be on the stage in front of an audience.”
Judging from the early reviews, the audience seems to feel the same way.
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