University of Michigan-class of 2008
BFA Acting, Double Major Art History
Hannah Shankman assiduously auditioned for college B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) Musical theatre and Acting programs all over the country during her senior year at Greeley. She received no acceptances that year. It seems rather ironic, as she is now on Broadway in Les Miserables, her third Broadway show to date!
Shankman, is a terrific example to aspiring Horace Greeley High School students as she’s evidenced grit, guts and determination. After rejections from the colleges where she auditioned, she accepted a spot at the University of Michigan’s liberal arts program. Hannah spent her freshman year there, re-auditioned for B.F.A. programs the following year and was thrilled to be accepted at three! She decided to stay at Michigan, in their B.F.A. program.
She highly recommends a B.F.A. program for someone seriously considering becoming an actor. She feels that the top programs teach you not only how to become a better actor but more importantly: audition skills, dance and singing training, stage craft, and speech. Perhaps even more importantly, you are trained how to market yourself as an actor and to manage the business of becoming one.
During high school, Hannah participated in the Greeley Theatre program under the tenure of both Mr. Coons and Mr. Schraufnagel. She took Acting, Chorus and Theatre Rep. and had key roles in two Greeley Theatre Productions. Her favorite was “Leading Player” in Pippin. The role, to that point, had been played on Broadway by men, thus she found navigating it a challenge, both dramatically and vocally. Interestingly, it is now played on Broadway by a woman. Hannah’s funniest Greeley Theatre memory was the Theatre Rep performance of Macbeth. She and two friends were playing the three witches. Deciding to really truly into character for the final performance, they all went outside and rolled in the dirt and performed completely filthy.
Like many performers, Hannah’s career trajectory took her back and forth from New York. She left the University of Michigan a year early for the amazing opportunity to go on tour for a year with the show Rent. She then waited almost a year to land her first show on Broadway, which was Hair! While doing that show she did a semester at NYU to finish her degree, followed by 8 months in London with Hair. She then went on tour with Les Miserables, returned to New York for SIde Show on Broadway, followed by Les Miserables on Broadway where she is currently in the ensemble and covers Éponine.
In addition to performing, Shankman does other industry work, including, college audition coaching, professional actor coaching, Master Classes.
When asked if the Greeley Theatre program influenced her, she gave it a rousing endorsement. “I feel as though I never would have been able to get where I am today without everything I learned at Greeley (Theatre). It set me up with a solid foundation to enter into an extremely challenging profession. I am humbled and grateful for all the teachers and classes, without which I may not have had the drive and guts to pursue theatre as a profession.”