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"My four years at Point Park were integral to my growth as an artist, so having the opportunity to come back years later to this city that has so many memories for me is very special."

Connor Russell

Meet Connor Russell

Role: Flounder in Disney's The Little Mermaid
Degree earned
: B.F.A. in Musical Theatre
Minor: Dance
Graduated: 2012
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
High school: Skyline High School
Now living in: New York, N.Y.

Tell us about your career since graduating from Point Park.

I've had the opportunity to take on a wide variety of roles since graduating in 2012. I played the leading role in the series The Hinterlands - which landed me an International Academy of Web Television award nomination for best leading actor in a drama - alongside Milo Ventimiglia and David Arquette.

Recently, I was in the pilot of Truth Slash Fiction, which won an award for best television comedy and featured by Teen Vogue and Attitude Magazine.

Additionally, I've been a part of three productions of new musicals, including a new work co-written by Glenn Slater (of Sister Act, School of Rock and The Little Mermaid) and Wendi Wilf. Plus the musical adaptation of the film October Sky, produced by Universal Pictures at The Old Globe in San Diego, Calif. I played Quentin, one of the four Rocket Boys.

Pictured is alumnus Connor Russell as Flounder. Photo | Mark & Tracy Photography

How did you land the role of Flounder in Disney's The Little Mermaid?

I auditioned for Disney's The Little Mermaid in the spring of 2016. After three days of call backs, I got the offer to play Flounder. We started rehearsals in November 2016, and I've been with the show ever since!

What's it like returning to Pittsburgh to perform at the Benedum Center?

It's really magical to be back in a city that has influenced so much of who I am as a performer. My four years at Point Park were integral to my growth as an artist, so having the opportunity to come back years later to this city that has so many memories for me is very special.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

What really strikes me most about my career so far is the variety of people I've met while working. Being in the arts, the best product is produced when you are able to collaborate with smart and willing people. The people I have met have continued to help me grow artistically and as a person. It's always a thrill when you are able to step into a room where you feel that creative energy.

What are your fondest Point Park memories?

What I loved about my time at Point Park was the constant focus of training to improve at something I loved doing. You never stop training, but once you graduate there are so many other things that get in the way of training, like trying to get a job. So when you are in school, although it can be overwhelming at times, you and your classmates are there to get better - there's no room for ego or attitude. You get four years to really focus and fine tune your craft without any of the pressure that comes with being out of school.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Buckle up and get ready to work! What you do in college is setting yourself up for what you do in life. Take advantage of every second!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I'm so thankful for the time I had at Point Park and the people I met while I was there. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Lead photo by Annie Brewer, junior cinema production major

More About: Downtown Pittsburgh, dance, Conservatory of Performing Arts, success story, alumni, musical theatre