Jennifer Ravitz ’11 learned about Shenandoah University through word of mouth, and fell in love with it. “Shenandoah is a tight-knit community that encourages personal growth,” said Ravitz. “I often think about where I’d be if I had chosen to attend college elsewhere, and I know the constant support from my professors and classmates at SU helped steer me to where I am today.”
Though, she knew in her gut she wasn’t going to be an actor, Ravitz majored in music theatre because she was very passionate about the entertainment industry. She expressed this interest to her professors, and they encouraged her to explore other paths in the industry, such as writing, directing and casting. Through The Playwright’s Performance (a student group that produces and performs plays), Ravitz had the privilege of watching three of her plays produced and directed by fellow students. The work she put into creating the characters and their stories filled her with an incredible energy, leading her to seek more opportunities “behind the table.” Working alongside former Associate Professor of Theatre Jonathan Flom, she discovered her knack for casting, communicating with actors, and helping create a director’s vision through artistic collaboration.
“Shenandoah Conservatory is truly unique, and I know I can credit my success to the personalized education I received, the support and encouragement of my professors, and the endless creative energy of the SU students,” said Ravitz.
Ravitz is a casting director for Jonathan Strauss Casting, serving three of NBC’s hit television series: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med. The most rewarding part of Ravitz’s position is giving many actors their first-ever professional job in television. “Some actors have auditioned many times for me across the years and have continually improved with each audition,” said Ravitz. “There is no better feeling that calling somebody to say ‘Your hard work paid off, and you got the job!’.”
Ravitz’s professors prepared her for this career field by teaching her to be critical but kind, and honor the process of the actor, even if it doesn’t fit her personal style. She was taught how to communicate with actors via directing, stage management and assisting faculty. And, the ability to communicate and have the flexibility of changing the way she communicates has been extremely important to her career in casting.
Ravitz’s advice to students is: “Absorb everything related to the arts – every play, movie, television show.”