Two Ball State alumni and five other actors will present a night of “laugh[s] for an hour and a half straight” with the Actors Theatre of Indiana’s (ATI) play, “A Comedy of Tenors.”

The play, a sequel to “Lend me a Tenor,” will transport audience members to 1930s Paris with music of La Traviata at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at The Studio Theater in Carmel, Indiana. 

Since 2005, ATI, the professional theater company at the Center of Performing Arts in Carmel, has been producing shows in Central Indiana that display a “level of professional theater that is sought out by all actors when pursuing a career,” said Nic Eastlund, a 2014 Ball State graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre.  

For Eastlund, this will be his second ATI play. His first, “It Shoulda Been You,” was last year. 

Since he was previously a part of the group, the artistic director, Don Farrell, reached out to him as a candidate for the role of Max. Eastlund sent a taped song and monologue to the Farrell and was offered the role two weeks before rehearsals began. 

“Seeing as how I live in Chicago, it was a pretty quick turn around to get prepared and move myself down to the Indianapolis area,” Eastlund said. “That’s the life of an actor, gotta go where the work takes you. It was really a combination of luck and networking that brought me back to ATI, and I’m extremely thankful for the group of people that manage ATI. I’d come back as often as they’re willing to have me.”

Even though Eastlund has only been working with his coworkers for less than three weeks, he said he is “lucky” to already have them as friends. 

“Not only are my fellow cast mates unbelievably talented, they all genuinely care about the well being of the entire team,” Eastlund said. “I always feel supported by them on and off stage. Being at the theater can turn my day from sour to sweet immediately and it’s because of everyone I share the space with.” 

One of Eastlund’s cast mates, Jacob Barnes, is also a Ball State graduate from 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting. “A Comedy of Tenors” will mark Barnes’ debut with the theater company. 

“ATI has made me feel so welcomed,” Barnes said. “I am most grateful for new friends and being able to watch some incredible actors do incredible work. You grow a lot by watching good stage acting. I am thankful for this opportunity to grow and to do my passion.”

While Barnes was still at Ball State, he performed in shows such as “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” and “The Tall Girls.” 

During his audition for “A Comedy of Tenors,” Barnes was required to perform 32 measures of an opera piece as well as recite “about a minute and a half of comedic style monologue.” After the audition, he was casted as Carlo.


The cast of the Actors Theater of Indiana's "A Comedy of Tenors" read through their scripts during their first rehearsal Aug. 21, 2018, in Carmel, IN. Nic Eastlund and Jacob Barnes both graduated from Ball State. Photo provided.


The two-week rehearsal period began Aug. 21. While rehearsals at Ball State usually lasted for five to six weeks, Barnes said that the rehearsal experience was still similar since “Ball State’s Theatre Department runs their rehearsals like any professional company would.” 

Eastlund said his experience with Ball State’s theatre program “100 percent” helped him prepare for a career after graduating. Not only did Eastlund say that he honed-in on his acting skills at Ball State, but he also said he learned how to “function as a respectful, responsible actor that is able to come into a rehearsal and do the job that I’ve been hired to do.” 

“Everyone's experience is different, but I was extremely fortunate to have landed myself at Ball State,” Eastlund said. “I was given a lot of amazing training from my professors, from the classroom to the stage. 

“I don’t think I’ve had a single experience since graduating that someone hasn’t said to me, ‘I worked with so and so from Ball State’ or ‘Me and [insert any BSU theatre professors name] go way back!’ That’s really special since networking is such a major aspect of the field.” 

Barnes agreed with Eastlund and said Ball State definitely helped positively shape him and his career. 

“My professors and directors have impacted me more than they know,” Barnes said. “I will always be a proud Ball State theatre alumnus.” 

Contact Nicole Thomas with comments nrthomas3@bsu.edu