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Hunter Student Cast on Glee

Colby Minifie, a sophomore in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, has performed as an actor, singer, and dancer around New York City since childhood. She made her Broadway debut at the age of 13 in The Pillowman and most recently appeared as David Hyde Pierce's wayward daughter in the Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway production of Close Up Space, for which she learned to speak Russian. Her movie and television profile grew significantly when she was cast as the young Sue Sylvester in the series Glee.

What was it like to be on Glee?

Working on Glee was a true pleasure and a wonderful learning experience. Honestly, I thought I had done a lousy audition.  There were 30 blonde Jane-Lynch-look alikes in the waiting room and the audition consisted of saying two lines. I left without a second thought and the next day I got the call that I was booked on a plane to Los Angeles.  The Glee cast and crew warmly welcomed me as though I had been an original member on the show.

However, the most important part of it for me was getting an email from the director the day before the episode was supposed to air telling me my scenes were cut. It was very exciting to shoot the sequence, to be treated like a queen, and to get lovely publicity, and it's very easy to get caught up in all that excitement. The news didn't thrill me, but it reminded me to stay grounded. There were only good things that came out of the experience. I think my parents were more disappointed than I was.

Tell us about your involvement with international development projects.

I love to travel. I think it is one of the more important things in life; all the convictions I have are questioned and reevaluated. It makes home new for me. I am a strong believer in experiencing life to influence art, and the countries I have been to lately have enhanced my acting tremendously. In Uganda, I taught the drama club at an orphanage and directed two Ugandan fables. This past summer I studied women's rights in Bangalore, India, which was also a life-changing experience. I worked at a day care in one of their many slums, at an AIDS orphanage, and at a village outside Bangalore. I am continuing to study human rights at Hunter. I hope to use my art to fundraise and provide awareness.

What is your favorite thing about being an actor?

My favorite thing about being an actor is how aware of my mind and body I must be. Not every profession requires a person to shift mindsets, movements, and thought processes.  I am constantly challenging myself so that I can learn new things about how I work.  It is constantly fascinating; I can never know enough.  With each role, new research and new worlds are opened to a space I never would have discovered if I weren't an actor.  I also thoroughly enjoy moving people and opening their worlds as well. 

Why did you choose to attend Hunter rather than an acting conservatory?

I chose Hunter because I am a firm believer in public, state, and city schools. I am so happy to be in college with a great education, no debts, and a group of smart, diverse peers surrounding me in the middle of New York City.

How has your experience at Hunter contributed to your career?

My time at Macaulay Honors College at Hunter has immensely deepened the level at which I approach my acting.  The classes I have taken at Hunter and through Macaulay have enhanced my knowledge and experience about every aspect of life, ultimately allowing me to introduce more wisdom to the work I am involved in.  They have taught me how to critically approach literature, which has been incredibly helpful for me when approaching a script.

For example, my first semester at Hunter I took a class in the Italian Department called "Constructing Madness in its Multiple Perspectives."  We read and analyzed numerous texts by Euripides, Sophocles, and Shakespeare with a special focus on the madness of their characters.  I learned more about Shakespeare and how to approach it in that class than I have in any acting class because I was approaching it from a literary point of view.  I know how to research a character, a time period, an author because of my college education thus far.

Interestingly, the more academic classes I take that have nothing to do with theater, the better my acting becomes.  I owe so much of my success to Macaulay at Hunter.  I'm increasingly happy I didn't attend a conservatory.

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