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Pioneer Public – Mei Lu Barnum

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Pioneer Public – Mei Lu Barnum

Written By Lauren Clouser, Co-Features Editor

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Senior musical theater major Mei Lu Barnum first performed at seven years old when she landed a part in “A Christmas Carol” at a regional theatre in Boston. She was cast as Tiny Tim, and was dedicated enough to cut her hair for the role. 

Before Barnum cut her hair, she confirmed with her mother that hair would indeed grow back afterwards.

Barnum said she continued to pursue her passion for musical theater ever since. 

“From that point on I never really did anything else,” Barnum said. “I did normal kid stuff when I went to a public high school but I never did team sports…theater was my thing, that was my main hobby. It was always that.”

Her mother helped her to get into other shows around the area. By the time she reached high school, Barnum already had multiple experiences with regional and community theater. 

Barnum, who is from Wilmington, Massachusetts, heard about Point Park through her friends. Barnum added the university to her list, but fell in love when she visited campus. 

“They tell you about college tours that you’ll know when you’re in that right spot because you have that feeling about it…so it was that kind of feeling,” Barnum said. 

Barnum quickly gained experience through Point Park productions. At the end of her freshman year, which was as soon as theater students are eligible to audition for a Point Park show, she scored a role in “Stone Soup.” Her sophomore year she played Sally Simpson in The Who’s “Tommy.” She was also a part of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “42nd Street.” Barnum described each production as special. 

“They all have their best things,” Barnum said. “I love the dance in ‘42nd Street’, I could do that for the rest of my life, just tap…But the music and the story and just the time period of The Who’s ‘Tommy,’ I just love the 60s, so that was incredible. And then what we were saying as a statement about society in ‘Uncle Tom’s’ was so meaningful and it was probably one of the most artistically fulfilling projects I’ve done at this school.”

Barnum is currently in the production “Coram Boy,” and said it has also been fulfilling like “Uncle Tom’s
Cabin.”

“I think ‘Coram Boy’ is kind of like that too which just, we get so creative and we really reach a lot of people, especially doing pieces that aren’t done super often so that’s super awesome,” Barnum said. 

Outside of the theater program, Barnum is an office assistant in the Office of Student Life. 

“I just love it there and I love everyone on staff,” Barnum said. “It’s fun to see people come in and out and help impact different student’s experiences.”  

Barnum also works as a student supervisor for phone-a-thon through the Office of Alumni Relations, where she calls alumni to ask for financial support for the university. Barnum said she enjoys working somewhere that is not based around
theater. 

“It’s really great to work in different areas of campus and for those not to be related directly to my major,” Barnum said. “So I really have bits and pieces of what’s going on everywhere. And it’s cool to see how everything kind of ties together,” Barnum said. 

Barnum said one of her dream shows to have a part in would be “Hamilton.”

“’Hamilton,’ it’s everyone’s, any ethnic girl’s dream right now is to get into ‘Hamilton,’” Barnum said. “It’s an interesting time in Broadway; we have a lot of commercial stuff happening, so a lot of movies and spinoffs and stuff. The market’s always changing and you do what you can but ‘Hamilton’ would be so fun.” 

After her graduation in the spring, Barnum hopes to move to New York. 

“My goal is after graduation going to New York,” Barnum said. “Probably like most people do, graduate and then go home for the summer just to get your stuff together and make sure you have everything squared away financially and then probably move to New York in the fall. Just go for it, you know? Why let anything stop you?” 

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