Casey Morarity keeps the beat at 'Carrie, the Musical'

Music, in one way or another, has been a core part of Casey Morarity’s life for almost as long as she can remember.

“I was a part of a nonprofit organization called Momentum of Excellence at the Speed of Dance and they worked with different elementary schools from Central Ohio,” Morarity, a junior music education major from Columbus, said. “That really got me introduced into the dance movement and music itself.”

While she was presented the option to play instruments in sixth grade, her passion for creating music began to blossom a bit later.

“Around high school was when I really got interested in pursuing music as a passion and that's when I got interested in musicals,” Morarity said.

It’s no secret that Ohio University is full of music. Whether it be the Marching 110, various ensembles, or professional theatrical productions, Morarity has been a common factor in all.

From drums to glockenspiels, percussion is her instrument of choice and she is currently using her talents in this area for Tantrum Theatre’s production of 'Carrie, The Musical," which runs through March 25. Previously, Morarity has also played in the pit orchestra for Tantrum Theatre's production of "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812," as well as for another theater company's production of "Kiss Me Kate."

“Carrie is a lot different,” she said. “Carrie is a lot more punk rock and metal sounding when it comes to the drum set. When you hear something like maybe Wicked for example, it's a lot more classical as percussion.”

Morarity is the “heavy metal type person” in Carrie’s ensemble, but also expresses her appreciation for accessory percussion in classical music where she often uses cymbals or chimes to leave her musical footprint.

“I have to play this (instrument) one second, but then two seconds later I have to go to this instrument, it's really fun to figure out how you're going to weave through those paths,” she added.

Morarity’s overall cheerful demeanor makes her occupation seem like a leisurely stroll through the park, but after hearing more about her day-to-day activities, it’s clear that is not the case.

“I am a part of our percussion ensemble, our jazz percussion ensemble, I also take a part in our Wind Symphony and I'm currently one of the conductors for our symphonic bands for our Honors conductor concert coming up,” Morarity explained. “I really focus on the School of Music.”

Between all those ensembles and rehearsals, this is Morarity’s “busiest semester yet.” However, she said that all the extra activities have gone a long way in improving her time management abilities, something she believes is “really important as a performer.”

Moraritiy practices around 20-30 hours a week. Most evenings Glidden Hall is her home, not including the time she spends in extra rehearsals and classes.

“I met Casey last year,” Brent Frederick, music director for "Carrie, the Musical,“ said. "She had reached out to me and was interested in doing percussion with musical theater later in her career.”

Frederick, an assistant professor of Musical Theatre at Ohio University, works with an array of students, such as Morarity, as well as other professional musicians.

“I love working with students who are passionate and excited about wanting to create music and create art,” Frederick said. “You can't take yourself too seriously and must be able to view your contribution as a piece of the puzzle. Casey has the perfect mindset for that mixed with great talent on the drum set. I always hope students like that will want to come back and work with us in the future.”

As far as what’s next for Morarity, she plans to continue working with professional organizations while at OHIO and is currently in the audition process for New York University’s Broadway Percussion Seminar offered in the summer. She aspires to attend graduate school and earn a master’s degree in percussion.

“I'll be going into student teaching, but really my main goal is to actually become a Broadway percussionist, working with big shows like Wicked, Hamilton and The Lion King," she said. 

Until then, catch Casey Morarity on the drums during Tantrum Theatre’s "Carrie, The Musical" in the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theatre in Kanter Hall. Tickets are available online here

March 22, 2023
Connor Chomicki, B.S.J. '25