Penn State grad nabs role in classic musical

Actor and Penn State graduate Patrick Graver said his favorite musical was always “West Side Story”; he said it was the first show he really remembered from his childhood. Now as an adult, Graver will perform in the musical for his alma mater, something he couldn’t be more excited for.

“I screamed and cried for about two weeks when I was cast in the show,” Graver, a member of the class of 2013, said. “ ‘West Side Story’ has always been my all-time favorite show.”

The Lancaster native will star in the role of Diesel and is the understudy for the characters Riff and Tony. Before joining the traveling cast, Graver said he performed in five shows over the summer with the Ocean Professional Theatre Company in New Jersey.

He said he thought that being cast in the role couldn’t have gotten any better, but it did when he learned the show would be coming to the Eisenhower Auditorium. He added that, while he wasn’t a fan of Penn State growing up, that when he learned about Penn State’s musical theater program, he knew he had to come.

“This is what I want. This is where I need to be,” he said, in reference to choosing the university.

Graver credited his professors at Penn State who helped him to get where he is now.

“It’s unbelievable to think how much I’ve grown in the last four years,” he said. “The (Penn State theater) program –– it’s designed so well. I feel like a triple threat because of them.”

He added that, while at Penn State, Rob Schneider, an assistant professor of theater arts and current calling director in California, was a professor who helped to mentor him on the side.

Schneider said that Graver was someone he always knew would do big things.

“Pat is probably one of the best actors I’ve ever seen in terms of musical theater,” Schneider said. “I am so proud of him and so excited for him.”