Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Theater, music inspire student’s greatness

Plattsburgh State senior Abigayle Ploetz has been on the stage ever since portraying Baby Jesus in a Christmas production the month after she was born.
Since then, Ploetz has been actively involved in theater and music, her two majors at Plattsburgh State.

In middle school and high school, Ploetz participated in her family’s church choir, a New York-based singer’s forum, school productions and Shakespearience, a camp that aims to teach aspects of Shakespeare on wording and stage combat to its participants.

“Choosing majors was really a realization,” Ploetz said, “since music was there my whole life and it’s something I enjoy doing.”

Ploetz has majors in theater and music with a focus in voice, but she also plays saxophone, ukulele, piano and guitar with the hopes of learning to play more.
“If I won the lottery, I’d take a trip around the world to learn different instruments,” she said.

Ploetz has already traveled to Italy for a study-abroad program, where she studied Italian opera.

While in Italy, Ploetz acted as a chat pal with an Italian student, conversing with the student in order to help them develop their English-speaking skills. She also taught English for an hour a week at a preschool.

Ploetz holds exploration in high esteem, saying that if a person is curious about something, he or she should go out and explore it.

She credits her parents for her curious spirit. Her dad was once a journalist, teaching her to question things if she’s interested in them, and her mom is a librarian who encouraged her, if curious about something, to go find out or find the resources to find out.

Ploetz was also able to explore her first theater production at PSUC as a freshman. She was one of four performers in the production of “On the Verge,” in which she played an anthropologist.

“She was ecstatic to be in that show,” said Erika Guay, PSUC assistant professor of theater. “She was really dedicated to portraying this person, and it fit her to a T.”

Since her first production, Ploetz has been in “Winter’s Tale,” in which Guay said she was “really excellent” and a great role model for the other actors.

Aside from theater, Ploetz is actively involved in her music major. She recently completed her senior project, which she is proud of because it combined academia with performance and showcased all that she’s learned during her undergraduate career.

The project was optional, but Ploetz wanted to make sure she completed a recital before graduating. She has been working on the project since last semester.

“It showed my growth because I’ve been working on all these things,” she said.

Outside of her majors, Ploetz is involved in capoeira, the College Theatre Association, the SUNY Plattsburgh Improv Troupe, four musical ensembles and is a member of Alpha Psi Omega and PSUC’s National Theatre Honor Society.

Ploetz recently was one of four PSUC students to win the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

“I was surprised as a music and theater major because the arts aren’t always appreciated in academia,” Ploetz said. “They’re very interactive majors that can’t be tested, so they’re sort of seen as being soft, easy majors.”

She was also recently chosen to act as commencement speaker at this year’s graduation ceremonies.

Ploetz said her speech has an informal tone and though she was unsure of what they were looking for, she wrote what she wanted rather than what she thought they wanted.

“Her speech is really strong,” said Gabrielle Beauregard, Ploetz’s roommate who helped during the speechwriting process. “It’s not boring or too serious, it reflects her and what she does.”

After graduating, Ploetz doesn’t intend to find fame on Broadway like one might assume from a theater major. Instead, she plans to explore Buffalo, N.Y., to see if she might be able to make a living doing what she loves.

Email Tawnee Bradham at

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