No Stage is Too Small for KSU Theatre Alumna

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 9, 2024

Musical theatre actress L’Oreal Roaché cherishes overlooked moments of performing

No role is ever too small for KSU alumna L’Oreal Roaché, whether she is performing on a cruise line, a national tour, or at a local cabaret. The former Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS) student cherishes the moments that audiences may never see and the performances that some may consider small. 

headshot of Loreal Roche
No role is ever too small for KSU alumna L’Oreal Roaché. Photo by Patrick Marcigliano.

Roaché tried various other extracurricular activities growing up, but she always went back to musical theater. It was her calling. When she began to look for a college to call home, she found herself on KSU’s campus for a tour. It was then that she fell in love with the campus and theatre program. 

Roaché performed in various mainstage shows through the TPS program, but she found that her most memorable moments weren’t necessarily onstage. They were behind the scenes and in the classroom. 

“[These experiences] gave me the freedom..of creating art,” Roaché said. “It helped me take myself out of the box… Those are my favorite performances, even though they are the ones that people will never hear about.”

Roaché has a love for the process, and she learned that “when you do the work, the product shines through.” This was a value instilled in her by her professors, who were all actively working in the professional theater world alongside teaching at KSU. 

The summer before she enrolled at KSU, Roaché attended the Summer Arts Intensive for Musical Theatre. It was at this intensive that she connected with her mentor and TPS faculty member and Coordinator of Musical Theatre, Amanda Wansa Morgan. Morgan taught Roaché that “being good isn’t good enough” and that who you are matters so much more than what you can do in the theatre space.

Roaché holds Morgan’s advice close to heart and is passionate about being a positive force in her industry, as well as inspiring fellow performers of faith to embrace that side of themselves. 

“I just want to say– especially to artists of faith– that even if it doesn’t always seem possible, to just be you in that space,” Roaché said. “Be the Jesus in your cast and be steadfast in that.”

Only four years out of the TPS program, Roaché has amassed an impressive resumé of experiences. She sailed the world performing as Anne Boleyn in the Norwegian Cruise Lines production of “Six the Musical,” and she is currently touring the country as Lisa with the nationally touring production of “Mamma Mia!”

True to form, though, her favorite professional experience to date was something much closer to home. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, theaters were “being really, really creative, which was inspiring,” as they sought out ways to remain open safely, according to Roaché. She joined the cast of the Jennie T. Andersen Theater’s Drive-In Cabaret performances and embraced an atypical setup.

Provided by Cobb County, the stage was a semitruck that would pull out into a fully functioning stage, and the audience set up chairs or watched from their cars to be able to still enjoy the theater while remaining socially distant. This creative way of performing really inspired Roaché, and it is one of her most meaningful performances. 

“What people consider smaller roles or contracts really meant a lot and formed me,” Roaché said. “[They] taught me that anything is possible.”

The “anything” that Roaché refers to spans many stages and genres of musical theatre. She accomplished her dream of performing on a cruise ship and is now fulfilling her next dream: a national tour. 

Moving from city to city can be exhausting, but the tour life is fulfilling to Roaché as she connects with people in places across the country. She didn’t know just how much she loved to travel until she began this tour.

“I love hearing people’s dreams and encouraging them,” Roaché said. “And there’s something about the joy ['Mamma Mia'] brings to people…seeing people joyful is a serotonin blast for me for three straight hours.”

Roaché has already accomplished several of her dreams, and she remains curious and excited for what comes next. She doesn’t rush the future, though, and remains very next-step oriented. Whatever role she is in, she works to embrace the fullness of that experience and continue to become the best performer, and person, possible. 

“When people see you being kind when you don’t want to be or keep going when you don’t feel like you have the strength– it changes people, and it changes environments.” Roaché said. “It changes you, too.” 

--Kendall Chamberlain

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