Last summer, Mike Murdock starred in "On Golden Pond" at Greenbrier Valley Theatre.
With the GVT crew, he weathered the historic floods that racked Greenbrier County in a summer he will never forget.
Just a month ago, Murdock kind of made history again with GVT, as he snagged one of only a handful of professional theater jobs in West Virginia, getting hired to be props master for the Lewisburg, West Virginia-based GVT, the only year-round professional theater in the state.
Murdock's gig with the 50-year-old GVT may be rare — for an actor to actually find professional work in the state; however, the fact that a Marshall University theater grad is working in the ultra-competitive theater and entertainment industry is becoming more commonplace.
The Marshall School of Theatre has graduates who are working in every aspect of the theatrical business, from educators and actors to tech, playwriting and design, all over the country and in every major theater stronghold, from L.A. and New York to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas.
As the Herd scatters
Thanks in part to the fingertip interaction of social media, Marshall theater professors like Jack Cirillo, a professor in performance studies who first came to Marshall in 1998, can instantly reel off pages of recent graduates who are working in every aspect of the business across the country.
"Every single person on this list is using their degree from theater from Marshall University to make a living as either an educator in the arts or as an artist themselves, and that is a hard thing to do," Cirillo said, holding up a couple of pages of recent grads he typed from memory. "It is much easier to parlay your business degree to an administrative position with Wal-Mart. There is just more opportunity ... but we have students in L.A., New York and Chicago, all the main hubs of theater performance and production, and in the case of Erika Piotrowski, she is out in Vegas and has been a part of some big spectacle shows, so our students, I think, have a pretty good balance of performance and production during their time with us so they are capable of going off and doing a lot of diverse kinds of things in theater."