Recent Alumna Q&A: Margot Yecies ’15

by Mac Emery | 1/26/16 6:01pm

Margot Yecies ’15 graduated with a double major in theater and music. As of this fall, she is pursuing a theater and singing career in New York.

What have you been involved in since transitioning to New York?

MY: I guess my first thing after graduation was I started working at the New London Barn Playhouse, which is a summer stock theater in New London, New Hampshire, about half an hour from Dartmouth. I was working there as a stage manager for their intern program, so I stage-managed upwards of 40 middle schoolers and high schoolers, which was a blast. And that program is actually run by a Dartmouth ’08. A lot of Dartmouth alums and professors are involved in the playhouse, so it’s a natural first job after college. [In New York], I’ve been auditioning, sending out resumes, filling out job interviews — all sorts of fun job hunting. This fall I worked on an off-Broadway production of “Once Upon a Mattress” [(1959)]. I was very excited for Transport Group, which is an off-Broadway theater group, and I worked backstage on their production this fall and winter. That’s been my main involvement in New York. Other than that, I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door.

Could you tell me about your first professional experience?

MY: It was great. The job fell into my lap in a wonderfully unexpected way. It was a little surreal to show up and realize for the first time in a really long time with me doing theater that I was the youngest person there or one of the youngest people there. Everyone’s really welcoming; it was really nice to finally be in a professional production. Dartmouth does its best to make their productions feel as professional as possible, but at the end of the day they’re not. So it was really nice to experience a professional atmosphere. Everyone, as you could imagine, was very professional and courteous and on top of things. The people who worked on it seemed to treat each other like a family. They really supported each other.

Are there any challenges with transitioning from a student to a professional environment?

MY: I think there’s a lot, more that I will discover in the months and years to come. I think one of the biggest ones is that you have to create your own learning opportunities, which is true in any field once you leave college or grad school. But at Dartmouth I had the luxury to take voice lessons every week and had access to free practice, well not free, access to practice which was included in my very expensive tuition. So there was a lot of space to work on my art and create art myself. If you want to you can sit in a practice room in the Hop and nobody will disturb you and you can literally just do art all day. It takes some getting used to knowing that I have to create my own space to be creative and create my own space to keep up with my growth and practicing, because there’s no professor or class that’s telling you [what] to do. And I don’t necessarily have the space and time that I did. I think that’s the main challenge right now. Of course there are other challenges. You have to support yourself, you can’t spend a hundred percent of your time on your art.

Now that you’re moved on to the large world of professional acting, how do you think about the experience of your two senior projects?

MY: I’m glad I did them. I really got into them because there aren’t so many opportunities to create the art you want to create once you leave a college environment or a conservatory environment. So I’m very happy that I took advantage of those resources, and explored topics that were interesting to me and music that was interesting and important to me. It really forced me to be very diligent about my practicing and the way I prepared for my rehearsals. It was a good challenge to learn that much material in so short a time.

Do you see yourself pursuing opportunities that have those two [music and theater] conjoined? How do you see those two interests aligning in the future?

MY: I guess there’s a number of ways it could pan out. I guess one path I’m considering is going to grad school for classical voice and opera. Going to a conservatory for a MS, a masters in music. Acting is an important part of opera, so I think my theater training will serve me well with that, even if its not the focus. I guess another way it could pan out is in a dream world is I become the Audra McDonald or the Kristin Chenoweth who are classically trained musical theater performers. I think that’s sort of its own niche in the musical theater world, and that’s something I’m really interested in.

Now that you have a few months of experience under your belt, what advice would you bestow back on Dartmouth students with a passion for theater or music that might be considering a similar path?

MY: I guess the first thing is that I feel extremely under-qualified to give advice. I feel like I’m still in the stage where I’m very much learning. But I guess one thing I talk about a lot with my friends who are still at Dartmouth is I think it can be challenging because there are so many things going on — you’re taking classes, there are extracurriculars, you’re directing a play, you’re acting in a musical, there are a hundred things going on. I think that what I guess I wish I had done is when I’m in rehearsal, or when I’m in acting class, or when I’m in studio, is to really be focused. Don’t let the midterm I have tomorrow or the issue having in some other extracurricular, don’t let that get in the way of my really valuable time in the rehearsal space or in the performance space. It’s just so valuable, that time you get in the rehearsal room, you definitely want to take advantage of it.

With all the exposure you have with very experienced professionals, would you say that you find the New York scene and environment very stimulating artistically?

MY: Yeah, definitely. Maybe I’m still secretly a little bit of a theater nerd or a tourist, but there’s something magical about walking past ten Broadway theaters on my way to work every day. If that doesn’t inspire you to push yourself I don’t know what will. That in and of itself is inspiring. Even being in the physical environment. So many of the people I interact with are theater people — actors, directors, playwrights — and so I think it’s just nice to be around people who understand and want to help push each other to create good art and new art. Definitely a stimulating environment.

What have you been involved in since transitioning to New York?

MY: I guess my first thing after graduation was I started working at the New London Barn Playhouse, which is a summer stock theater in New London, New Hampshire, about half an hour from Dartmouth. I was working there as a stage manager for their intern program, so I stage-managed upwards of 40 middle schoolers and high schoolers, which was a blast. And that program is actually run by a Dartmouth ’08. A lot of Dartmouth alums and professors are involved in the playhouse, so it’s a natural first job after college. [In New York], I’ve been auditioning, sending out resumes, filling out job interviews — all sorts of fun job hunting. This fall I worked on an off-Broadway production of “Once Upon a Mattress” [(1959)]. I was very excited for Transport Group, which is an off-Broadway theater group, and I worked backstage on their production this fall and winter. That’s been my main involvement in New York. Other than that, I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door.

Could you tell me about your first professional experience?

MY: It was great. The job fell into my lap in a wonderfully unexpected way. It was a little surreal to show up and realize for the first time in a really long time with me doing theater that I was the youngest person there or one of the youngest people there. Everyone’s really welcoming; it was really nice to finally be in a professional production. Dartmouth does its best to make their productions feel as professional as possible, but at the end of the day they’re not. So it was really nice to experience a professional atmosphere. Everyone, as you could imagine, was very professional and courteous and on top of things. The people who worked on it seemed to treat each other like a family. They really supported each other.

Are there any challenges with transitioning from a student to a professional environment?

MY: I think there’s a lot, more that I will discover in the months and years to come. I think one of the biggest ones is that you have to create your own learning opportunities, which is true in any field once you leave college or grad school. But at Dartmouth I had the luxury to take voice lessons every week and had access to free practice, well not free, access to practice which was included in my very expensive tuition. So there was a lot of space to work on my art and create art myself. If you want to you can sit in a practice room in the Hop and nobody will disturb you and you can literally just do art all day. It takes some getting used to knowing that I have to create my own space to be creative and create my own space to keep up with my growth and practicing, because there’s no professor or class that’s telling you [what] to do. And I don’t necessarily have the space and time that I did. I think that’s the main challenge right now. Of course there are other challenges. You have to support yourself, you can’t spend a hundred percent of your time on your art.

Now that you’re moved on to the large world of professional acting, how do you think about the experience of your two senior projects?

MY: I’m glad I did them. I really got into them because there aren’t so many opportunities to create the art you want to create once you leave a college environment or a conservatory environment. So I’m very happy that I took advantage of those resources, and explored topics that were interesting to me and music that was interesting and important to me. It really forced me to be very diligent about my practicing and the way I prepared for my rehearsals. It was a good challenge to learn that much material in so short a time.

Do you see yourself pursuing opportunities that have those two [music and theater] conjoined? How do you see those two interests aligning in the future?

MY: I guess there’s a number of ways it could pan out. I guess one path I’m considering is going to grad school for classical voice and opera. Going to a conservatory for a MS, a masters in music. Acting is an important part of opera, so I think my theater training will serve me well with that, even if its not the focus. I guess another way it could pan out is in a dream world is I become the Audra McDonald or the Kristin Chenoweth who are classically trained musical theater performers. I think that’s sort of its own niche in the musical theater world, and that’s something I’m really interested in.

Now that you have a few months of experience under your belt, what advice would you bestow back on Dartmouth students with a passion for theater or music that might be considering a similar path?

MY: I guess the first thing is that I feel extremely under-qualified to give advice. I feel like I’m still in the stage where I’m very much learning. But I guess one thing I talk about a lot with my friends who are still at Dartmouth is I think it can be challenging because there are so many things going on — you’re taking classes, there are extracurriculars, you’re directing a play, you’re acting in a musical, there are a hundred things going on. I think that what I guess I wish I had done is when I’m in rehearsal, or when I’m in acting class, or when I’m in studio, is to really be focused. Don’t let the midterm I have tomorrow or the issue having in some other extracurricular, don’t let that get in the way of my really valuable time in the rehearsal space or in the performance space. It’s just so valuable, that time you get in the rehearsal room, you definitely want to take advantage of it.

With all the exposure you have with very experienced professionals, would you say that you find the New York scene and environment very stimulating artistically?

MY: Yeah, definitely. Maybe I’m still secretly a little bit of a theater nerd or a tourist, but there’s something magical about walking past ten Broadway theaters on my way to work every day. If that doesn’t inspire you to push yourself I don’t know what will. That in and of itself is inspiring. Even being in the physical environment. So many of the people I interact with are theater people — actors, directors, playwrights — and so I think it’s just nice to be around people who understand and want to help push each other to create good art and new art. Definitely a stimulating environment.