Alumni Focus: Jonathan Brugioni

October 12, 2022

smiling man
Jonathan Brugioni

Name: Jonathan Brugioni

Major at ISU: Music Education

Graduation Year: 2013

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Current Residence: New York, NY

What were you involvedin during your time at ISU?
Iowa Statesmen, Iowa State Singers, SOV/Musicals (Guys and Dolls, RENT, Kiss Me, Kate, Candid), 10-Minute Play Festival, Cheerleading Squad.

What do you currently do for a living?
Actor and Director

Can you share a particularly interesting story that has occurred in your career?
It never fails to surprise me when things happen to remind me how small the arts world is. For example, I once did a small TV show last summer, and while on break, I was chatting with another actor. Turns out he was roommates with one of my dearest friends and colleague from graduate school. A few months later, they were both in my living room having thanksgiving dinner. Or another time, I was discussing the Met Opera with someone from a dance class. We talked about the recent productions we had seen, and she mentioned she saw her friend make his debut. I was also at that performance because I knew this person as well, who had also studied in Iowa. So many artists know the same people you do. Our circles are always connected. It was another reminder of how small the arts world is.

Are there other ways that you participate in your community and/or how do you engage as a Citizen Artist?
My social circle has developed into a group of artists of all types. We have projects of all sizes. And we support each other with our time, resources, and love. Sometimes it's helping organize a short film. Sometimes it's helping paint sets for a middle school after-class theatre program.

How did your time at ISU prepare you for your career?
I learned how to be tenacious. I learned to take what I was given and turn it into something magical. There is always scarcity in the arts world; time, money, resources, space, and even attention or love. ISU taught me that brilliance can happen if you lean on your own passion and the love of those around you.

What was your favorite experience in music or theatre at ISU?
I felt exhilarated by the feeling of being a tenacious, and individual, artist in the 10-minute and One Act Festivals. We had to be scrappy and fight for a piece of art we believed in. We leaned on each other's artistry. We had no other choice. And, it produced the most intimate feeling of creation I had experienced in my young artistic life.

What was your favorite class while you were at ISU? Why?
My favorite moments were always in the classes with the ensembles. whether, that's Statesmen, Singers, Musical Theatre Rep, or even joking around with our projects for Music Tech or Group Piano.

How was your involvement in music and theatre beneficial in different parts of your life?
Perhaps it is cliché, but perhaps it still needs to be said: music and theatre have opened my understanding of the world far beyond what I could have unlocked on my own. I see people differently. I see humanity differently. When you are asked to immerse yourself into the creation of your own humanity and art, there is no avoiding the growth, understanding, and love you begin to have for others.

Any words of wisdom for current or prospective students?
The opportunities in the world of the arts are so so vast. There will come a day when something will resonate with you that you did not know existed. Follow that feeling. your heart is right. Do not resist something simply because it does not fit into your original understanding of the arts.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?
One additional word of wisdom for students: Your individuality as an artist and a human is something we often set aside as good citizens of the Midwest. We give ourselves to others in our ensembles, our relationships, or even in the grocery line. It's what makes us special. We are giving. But, don't forget to develop your own artistic soul. It is unique. It is yours. But, it still needs to be cherished, followed, and nurtured. Never be ashamed of being an individual. Who are you?

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