Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Passion for Drama

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    Robert Frost (above, left) has played a role in 15 productions during his four years at Southwestern. In the fall 2011 production of “Cloud 9,” he played a father in the first act and a little girl in the second act (next photo).
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    Frost played the crazy dentist Orin in the spring 2013 production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
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    Frost played the wolf in the spring 2011 production of "Into the Woods."

Theatre major receives 2013 Passion for the Arts Award

When Robert Frost takes the stage for the George Bernard Shaw play “Heartbreak House” this month, it will be the 15th production he has been in during his career at Southwestern.

In the past four years, Frost has played everything from the crazy dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors” to the wolf in “Into the Woods.” In “Cloud 9,” he played a father in the first act and a little girl in the second act. In “The 1940s Radio Hour,” he had a singing role and also served as musical director for the performance − a job usually taken by faculty members or guest professionals. 

“Robert is pretty extraordinary,” said Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre and chair of the Theatre Department. “His skills and abilities are far beyond what one would usually expect of an undergraduate.”

His dedication to both theatre and music earned Frost the 2013 Fayez Sarofim Passion for the Arts Award from Southwestern. The award is presented annually to the graduating senior who, regardless of major, has demonstrated an unusual passion for the arts during their career at Southwestern. It includes a cash prize that can be used any way the recipient wants.

A native of Clarksville, Ark., Frost came to Southwestern as a Brown Scholar with his sights set on creating an independent major in musical direction. Along the way, he discovered a passion for acting and decided instead to get a major in theatre and a minor in music.

Other shows he has landed roles in at Southwestern include “The Beggar’s Opera,” “Escape From Happiness,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “MUD,” “The Pillowman,” “Trouble in Tahiti,” “Urinetown,” and “The Yellow Boat.” 

In “Heartbreak House,” which runs April 25-28, Frost will play the dandy and defiant Hector Hushabye.

No matter what character he plays, Frost always seems to be a favorite with audiences.

“Much of this is due to the fact that Robert knows everyone on campus,” Bechtel said.

In addition to being part of numerous performances at Southwestern, Frost spent a summer training at the Rhodopi International Theatre Laboratory in Bulgaria and spent a semester at the prestigious National Theatre Institute at the O’Neill Center in Connecticut.

After graduating from Southwestern, Frost plans to work at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock co-writing and developing a musical for their Summer Musical Theater Intensive (SMTI) training program for aspiring young artists. He will also serve as co-musical director and accompanist.

After that, he hopes to do an internship at a place like the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. He hopes to enter graduate school in the fall of 2014 and said he plans to use the money he received from the Passion for the Arts Award to help pay for visits to graduate schools. Among the programs he is considering is NYU’s Musical Theatre Writing Program.