Student Spotlight

COLLEGE OF PERFORMING ARTS

Student Spotlight

Wanting what was best for his little girl, at first Kelly Appelmann’s father tried to steer his daughter away from pursuing musical theatre as a profession. His hope was that she would choose a more “practical” path.

Then, he saw his daughter sing at a funeral. “He came up to me afterwards, with tears in his eyes, and told me, ‘You can go for musical theatre.’” With this change of heart, Appelmann started auditioning locally around her Boonton, Morris County, hometown.

In the audience at one theatre festival was a faculty member of Rowan’s theatre department. After her performance, Appelmann says, “He called me and said, ‘We have this great program. We’d like you to audition.’ I came here, auditioned, and by the end of the day I had an email saying, ‘We want you’ and an offer for a significant scholarship.”

Appelmann enjoys the collaborative approach of Rowan’s theatre program. She takes dance classes and acting classes, sharing that all of the concentrations feel like one big family. “They make it very free, so that you can explore everything you are interested in,” Appelmann says. “They encourage you to branch out and try other things.”

With four student-run lab shows a year and four mainstage shows, Appelmann feels that she has ample opportunity to perform at Rowan. In addition, she is a member of the touring cabaret group. Developed in partnership with a Philadelphia musician, the group performs every Friday at area high schools and on Rowan’s campus.

“I love that as college-student artists, we create new things and bring them to people. I hope that we instill a sense of ‘If you want to do this, you can. Follow your dreams, just like us,’” Appelmann says.

Thanks to her father’s blessing, Appelmann is doing just that: following her dreams. She considers her parents to be her biggest support system.


When thinking of her future, Appelmann says, “I just want to use my talent in whatever way I can, whether that is singing to the elderly or to kids, or a starring role on Broadway. I don’t want to let my talent go to waste. I want to pursue this dream as far as I can.”