In the last four years of K-State theater productions, more likely than not Joey Boos, senior in theater, was a part of it in some way. Whether he was throwing himself into a lead role on stage or working up in the sound booth, Boos has left his mark on the K-State theater program.
“Theater was the first thing I got involved in that I felt passionately about,” Boos said. “I had tried sports, academic teams, band – nothing clicked and nothing ever really felt comfortable.”
When Boos moved from Overland Park, Kansas to Salina his eighth grade year, it was a big change for him. But, that same year he auditioned for “Miss Nelson is Missing” and has continued to pursue his passion of the performing arts ever since.
Now, with his graduation only weeks away, he is moving to Orlando, Florida to be a part of Disney’s College Program at Disney World. Boos will be acting as a pirate in the Pirate’s League for six months following graduation. The Pirate’s League isn’t a store, but rather an experience for the young people and adults visiting the park on any given day.
Boos said he actually applied on to the program a whim. A friend at K-State had told him about it, so he applied not thinking much of it. Then, when he received an email saying he had moved on to the next round of interviews, he was elated. He had to fill out an online form answering more in-depth questions that evaluated him as a person.
Within the following week, Boos had a 20-25 minute phone interview. He said the interviewer really liked that he had a theater background, and had worked with kids in a theater environment before. Then, a week later, he received an email saying he had been accepted to be a part of the Pirate’s League.
When looking around at Disney College Program groups online, he said there were actually very few who got accepted to be a part of the Pirate’s League, but rather, got hired for broad positions like ride operations or something like that.
“I’m excited to do something new,” Boos said. “I’ve never been away from home for more than a month. I’m excited to meet new people and make connections while I’m there. I don’t know where this will lead, but life’s an adventure, so why not?”
A loss his freshmen year
Boos began his K-State academic career four years ago. Since then, he has been a part of many productions, campus organizations and held multiple leadership roles. But, Boos faced a major turning point his freshmen year when his mother died from a cancerous brain tumor on September 2010.
“It was definitely hard,” Boos said. “My mom was my biggest fan and was the one who started me in theater. She took me to my first audition. She transferred me from a private Catholic school to a public school because there were arts and performance opportunities. She was my cheerleader.”
According to Boos, it was always him and his mom who were close, while his sisters were always close to their dad. He said it was difficult to get adjusted to not having his mom around.
By the time Boos’ mother passed away, he had already auditioned for and nabbed a part in “Antigone.” From the time he got the call about his mom to the time he returned to campus, he had only taken about a week and a half off. He said it moved really fast.
“Being a part of the play gave me something to focus on and people to surround myself with,” Boos said. “They helped me mentally. If I didn’t have that family base to come back to, it probably would have taken me much longer to come back to campus.”
He said the Office of Student Life, his professors, his fellow cast members and other students were all really supportive and gave him all the time he needed to mourn the loss of his mother.
“It made our family stronger,” Boos said. “My sisters and I used to fight a lot more and not talk a lot. Now, all four of us try to be together as much as we can. My mom came here and my sisters all came here. K-State is it’s own family, and we share that.”
Life in theater
Boos has been in 11 productions sponsored through K-State, as well as another nine productions between the Konza Theatre Company and Salina Community Theatre.
He has also worked as a sound board operator, costume shop stitcher at McCain Auditorium, and as a scene and prop design. Although he could have gone to a theater conservatory, he chose K-State.
“I picked a liberal arts school because I can take classes in all types of different things,” Boos said. “I have to be able to take things I learn in other classes outside of the School of Theatre, Music and Dance and apply it to my major or my roles. I have learned things and been able to better take on other people’s personalities through different roles and characters I have played.”
Bella Alonso, senior in theater, said Boos is one of the sweetest, kindest, sassiest and funniest people she has ever met. In all, she has worked on stage with Boos in three different productions – “The Madwoman of Cailot,” “The Music Man” and “columbinus,” although they have known each other since high school.
“It wasn’t until ‘columbinus’ that we truly got to act off one another,” Alonso said. “(It) was an extremely emotional piece, and working alongside one of my best friends was of the greatest experiences I could have asked for. (Boos) is extremely honest and emotionally available in his work, and really did the piece justice. Acting with (Boos) was wonderful not only because he’s a close friend, but also because he’s a fantastic actor and artist.”
Because Boos has been a part of multiple productions on and off campus, a lot of his free time in college had been dedicated to the plays and musicals he has been a part of.
When part of a production, Boos said he would spend three hours every night, Monday through Friday and sometimes a Saturday or Sunday, rehearsing. This included a few weeks of table work, which is sitting and talking about the production. Then, a few weeks of blocking the production, scene by scene.
After that comes tech week, which he said is a lot more taxing than just rehearsals.
“It’s taxing to run the show every night or one act twice in one night,” Boos said. “This week can run a few hours longer than just three hours a night.”
Finally comes production weeks. From auditions to performances, it is only a seven to eight week process.
He said “The Music Man” was one of his favorite performances he was a part of at K-State. It was the first production the K-State theater department had after the School of Music, Theatre and Dance was established.
“It was really exciting to be a part of it,” Boos said. “It was an exciting project that all of the departments were really excited about. I enjoy that here, all three departments are cohesive and collaborative.”
As time continues and Boos moves from Manhattan to Orlando, he said he has enjoyed his time here at K-State, as well as the experiences he received, the friends he’s made and the productions he has been a part of.
“It really is a family here,” Boos said.