XU actress makes her stage debut

By Mattie Cieplak, Staff Writer

Xavier sophomore Maria Zierolf made her professional theater debut this summer at The Carnegie Theatre in Covington, Ky.

Starring as Romola Remus in George Remus: A New Musical, Zierolf began the audition process in February  2022. She found out she was cast by the end of March and began rehearsals early this summer.

Even though Zierolf only had a year of experience at Xavier under her belt at the time of rehearsal, this show was an easier next step to take than she initially anticipated. “One year ago, I would not have been able to take this on,” she remarked. “Xavier Theatre taught me how to make choices and do so confidently, as well as how to act  as a professional.”

In her first year at Xavier, Maria Zierolf performed in the Xavier production of Mamma Mia! as Lisa. This summer, Zierolf crossed the Ohio River to make her professional debut as the daughter of a famed bootlegger.

George Remus is a brand new musical, meaning Zierolf and those she worked with had the opportunity to tell the story of Cincinnati bootlegger George Remus for the very first time.

Although the character of Romola is based on the real-life daughter of Remus, Zierolf still had to go through work to develop a character. 

“I personally read The Ghosts of Eden Park,” Zierolf explained, referring to a book about Remus. “But I know a lot of my castmates watched documentaries.” 

Zierolf’s goal was to create a fine balance of real-life traits and her own interpretation to create her character.

Working for an original creative team also led to the opportunity for revision.

“The writers of the show were in the room with us, so even once we had the ‘finalized’ version of the script, we were still making adjustments,” Zierolf explained. 

All of these factors combined created a very unique professional debut experience.

 The Carnegie Theatre differentiated itself from other theaters this summer through the use of a repertory series structure. Repertory theater consists of a rotation of different productions that perform back to back. The Carnegie started their series with Into the Woods, Rent and, finally, George Remus.

This repertory series was a new endeavor for The Carnegie. Director Maggie Perrino explained to audience members of the show: “We were responding to a desire from our actors to perform a more expansive selection of work throughout the summer.”

Zierolf is proud to have performed at a highly esteemed institution like The Carnegie and is grateful for the Xavier education that led her there. 

“This show was an amazing experience,” she said. “Not only was I able to work with talented individuals, but I was also able to see my education in action.”