Emma Borkowski, currently playing the lovable teen Tracy Turnblad in our summer musical HAIRSPRAY and an Alan Furlan Scholarship winner, now in the Sunset Spotlight.
- When did you first become involved at Sunset Playhouse and what areas have you been involved with here at the Playhouse?
For more than ten years, I have spent countless hours at Sunset Playhouse volunteering at various Sunset events, including the annual community Christmas event, the Season Premiere, ushering and front of the house duties for assorted productions, as well as marching in the Memorial Day Parade. For multiple years, I volunteered as a Teacher Assistant for Sunset’s School for the Arts. I was awarded the Alan Furlan Scholarship in 2017 and I am ecstatic to be a recipient of this same award in 2019.
When I was in third grade, I made my Sunset stage debut as an ensemble member in DAMN YANKEES. The positive energy and genuine pursuit of community I experienced at Sunset Playhouse led me to devote myself as strongly as I could through my following middle and high school years. My whole family, including my mom, dad, and my older sister and brother, have been greatly involved with Sunset Playhouse as well. Living in the neighboring community of Brookfield, I appreciate that my proximity to the Playhouse has lent itself to the connections I have made there.
Between numerous other school, community, and professional shows, I have found myself back at Sunset Playhouse. Through the years I have been seen as the title role in ANNIE, followed by an ensemble member of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. In 2017, I was honored to be named a Musical MainStage Rising Star in FAMILY TIES. Now, I am thrilled to be back on the Sunset stage as Tracy Turnblad in HAIRSPRAY, once again working with my favorite production team.
- If you are working on a Sunset show right now, what is your role?
I am currently portraying Tracy Turnblad in HAIRSPRAY. I have loved developing this character and finding similarities between myself and Tracy; a passion for singing and dancing, advocating for what is right, and accepting people for who they are no matter what.
With all the hard work that everyone has put towards the show, HAIRSPRAY is certain to be a hit!
- If an actor, what has been your favorite role to date and what is your dream role? If a Production Team member, which show have you most enjoyed working on? What show would you like to do in the future?
If I had to choose a favorite role I have portrayed, I would say Nancy in OLIVER. The intensity of both Nancy’s character and of the show allowed me to learn more than I felt like I ever had on stage before.
Currently, I am entering my third year at St. Olaf College, studying English and Studio Art, and my main focus is my academics. Therefore, in the past two years, I have seen many more shows than I have been a part of. However, last year I had the opportunity to study abroad in the U.K., where I took a class called Theater in London. I saw countless shows with the highlight being HADESTOWN. I am perpetually inspired by successful actors, actresses, and performers in general, and how they incorporate their passion into their professional lives.
- What do you enjoy most about the Sunset?
My love for Sunset Playhouse has blossomed for more than a decade. Here I have met friends who have turned into family, experienced moments that have turned into memories, and put on performances that have made audiences smile. I can rely on Sunset Playhouse to provide me with support, opportunities, connections, and affirmation in my passions.
- When not at Sunset, how do you spend your time?
I spend my free time exploring new coffee shops, making art, reading, and singing.
At St. Olaf, I devote much of my time an 11 person treble voice a cappella group, Agnes A Cappella, which I am a part of. I enjoy creating logos for the group and arranging songs for us to sing! I enjoy rock climbing, and look forward to working at St. Olaf’s rock climbing wall next fall. I also love my work as an office assistant in St. Olaf’s Human Resources department.
I am constantly reminded how many skills I have learned from theater throughout my life and I appreciate how applicable they are to my professional and personal endeavors.
- What is your favorite color/food/movie/TV show/book/musical or play?
My favorite movie is Into the Wild. Or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Or Cars 3. I like movies that make me think, and although these three silly options are seemingly different from each other, they are united by their ability to challenge me to find new ways of perceiving life.
- What is your favorite quote?
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
-Anthony J. D’Angelo
- Any other comments?
Thank you, Sunset, for this opportunity to be in the Spotlight! I am honored to be in the company of so many people whom I admire and have had the pleasure of working with and learning from.