Among a sea of aspiring actors dressed in black and lined up at an open call audition, Tregoney Shepherd wore a bright red miniskirt. Whether the skirt helped or hurt her chances, she’s unsure — but soon after she was whisked onto the “Les Misérables” Broadway stage.
Now, Shepherd has returned home to Arizona with the touring production of “Wicked” at ASU Gammage. Shepherd graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre, a master’s degree in musical theatre and opera direction, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance in 2015.
“I love ASU and I’m thankful for it because I feel like the program was very nurturing, encouraging, open to different ideas and provided me with performance opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Shepherd said.
Throughout her illustrious career, Shepherd has performed in the national tours of “Wicked” and “Mary Poppins,” as well as both the Broadway and national tours of “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
She recounted some of her own blunders and offered words of wisdom to current ASU musical theatre students on April 25. From treating every audition or dress rehearsal like a full performance and knowing who’s in the room, she shared lessons she often learned the hard way.
She said the lack of information she had as she approached the Broadway industry is part of the reason why she enjoys helping younger aspiring actors.
“As much as you are training and taking class, you don’t have the exposure,” Shepherd said. “Then you go and you have to figure out how to do it. So I like to be able to share my experiences with people so that they can understand that nothing is perfect — there’s no perfect way to do it. Everybody’s path is completely different.”
Shepherd also said she particularly loved her experience at ASU because her creativity was never diminished, and she was able to pursue many of her own ideas.
Ultimately, she said that just because some students couldn’t afford musical theater summer workshops like some families, it not essential in starting a theater career.
“With persistence and hard work and desire, you can have all of that,” she said.