Arts and Entertainment
|Scholar and actor Marcus Fitzpatrick follows his thespian passion|
|UNC Charlotte senior already a stage veteran|
|Published Thursday, October 3, 2019 10:44 am|
|BRAND NEW SHERIFF PRODUCTIONS|
|Marcus Fitzpatrick, a UNC Charlotte theater major, in Brand New Sheriff Productions' "Boys to Baghdad." Fitzpatrick has also been cast in Three Bone Theatre's "Pipeline" and campus production like "Detroit '67."|
Marcus Fitzpatrick isn’t questioning his passion. He’s following it.
A senior studying theater at UNC Charlotte, he is the second Mary Mahoney Memorial Scholarship recipient. Fitzpatrick has performed in recent local productions, such as Three Bone Theatre’s production of Dominque Morisseau’s “Pipeline” and Brand New Sheriff Production’s “Boys to Baghdad,” as well as UNCC productions like “Detroit ’67,” also by Morisseau.
“I saw the audition posts on Facebook, and I sent in a message saying I really loved Dominique Morisseau’s work,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think she has really beautiful writing. I knew as an actor I couldn’t help but gravitate toward that work, because it seems like her play was speaking to me personally.”
Three Bone Theatre founding artistic director Robin Tynes-Miller saw Fitzpatrick and UNCC alumnus Deandre Sanders perform on campus. The duo performed together in both productions, and with fellow Black Kings members Aaron Allen and Dylan Ireland were cast in “Boys to Baghdad.” The group had not performed together since “The Wiz” at UNCC in the spring of 2018.
“There’s kind of this journey going on where school has prepared me to work outside of school,” Fitzpatrick. “It’s good to learn the craft in school, but to be able to apply it outside of school.”
Said Sanders: “It was an awesome experience that we were all cast together. Coming up through my school with my brothers, because I consider them all brothers, and now we’re all in a professional production here. It’s an amazing opportunity for us, and it’s even more amazing that Marcus and I are going from ‘Pipeline’ straight to ‘Boys to Baghdad.’ We’re used to that, but at a professional level, this is something new for us.”
Growing up, Fitzpatrick’s goal was to be professional football player as a means of bringing his biological family together.
“I always wanted enough money to live in the same house as my sisters, things like that,” said Fitzpatrick, who is adopted. “My dreams were to make a lot of money for a long time. Growing up, and being of my stature, I’m 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, a lot of coaches were interested in that. I played football for most of my life up until high school where I tore my ACL.”
Fitzpatrick’s goals were similar to what many young black men consider one of the best paths to success. Get recruited by a top collegiate program. Make to the NFL.
“Along the way, the best thing that happened to me was my ACL tearing and not being in football,” he said. “Sometimes being in that culture is so toxic. There’s a lot of toxic masculinity going on in these locker rooms. What at the time seemed like the worst thing in the world ended up being a benefit, because that also led me to acting and to theater.”
Fitzpatrick switched his college major from communications to theater his sophomore year after taking professor Jill Bloede’s acting class.
“She said that I had a knack for it, and she actually said, ‘you’re going to be an actor,’ and then she corrected herself, and she said, ‘no, you are an actor,’” he said. “Since then, I’ve never questioned whether I was an actor or not. I think that’s been the journey for me as a theater artist. I don’t question if I’m an actor. I just have this confidence now that’s like, ‘I can do this.’ That’s kind of the guiding force of what I’ve carried alongside being in the theater department.”
Fitzpatrick attended productions around Charlotte as a requirement for the class that changed his path. Now his goal is to bring the next generation to Charlotte’s theater scene.
“I know I was inspired—Jill Bloede made us go see shows,” Fitzpatrick said. “I remember seeing one actor in this play called ‘Raisin’ in the Sun’ at Theatre Charlotte. His name was Gerard Hazelton, and I just thought he was amazing. That inspired me. I wanted to create work that was of that caliber. When people see me, I want to be like, ‘you can do this too,’ because now I’m here, and I’m working in the theater community.”
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