Taking Center Stage – Katie Kopajtic ’11, theatre

By: Jenny O'Grady
Feb 22, 2018

(Katie Kopajtic performing on stage)

As a youngster, Katie Kopajtic ’11 became interested in the stage thanks to the “Harry Potter” films. She acted in school plays while also becoming a strong swimmer at North Harford High School.

When she arrived at UMBC, she decided to focus solely on finding her voice in the theatre – but she never left her athletic life completely behind. This Sunday, the Brooklyn resident combines both interests in the form of her play “Confessions Of A Personal Trainer,” off-off-Broadway at “Ryan’s Daughter” on the Upper East Side.

Kopajtic said the  show is about 40 minutes long and filled with stories about her experiences with clients she met as a luxury personal trainer in New York City, something she’s done for about six years.

“This is a show about loss and love and all the blurred lines of this professional relationship [we have],” said Kopajtic, who spent about two years creating the show. “You end up being a therapist. You end up being a friend. There’s no rule book.”

She premiered the play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the world’s largest arts festival) in the United Kingdom, putting out 26 performances in 30 days and honing the show along the way. BroadwayBaby.com noted: “She’s immensely likeable and her monologues give a strong sense that she’s talking with an audience rather than at them. This whole show feels like catching up with an old friend.”

Coming up next will be a short film called “The Actor,” which Kopajtic wrote, directed, co-produced and starred in last year. Catherine Curtin and Lynn Cohen also appear, and Kopajtic hopes to premiere it at a festival this summer and obtain an online release later in 2018.

Kopajtic said her work at UMBC gave her a true foundation.

“I learned the basics, and then I learned how to act,” she said. “I got a lot of tough love in different ways. I didn’t know anything about choosing material. I’m like a girl from the country, and in one of my first college auditions, I chose a monologue from a play where it was a woman in her 40’s—and I was 18.”

She appeared in six plays at UMBC and credited professors like Eve Muson and Susan McCully with guiding her on and off the stage. Kopajtic said Muson was a director who accepted nothing less than your best work while McCully opened her eyes to how to read plays and understand the stories better – to set your ego aside and do the work.

McCully, who said she is delighted with the success Kopajtic has found, also helped her personally when she came out.

“She came and she talked to me, and I said that’s great that you know who you are,” McCully said. “She is one of those students who is able to combine talent with intelligence. I mean real intelligence, with curiosity and creativity. That’s a combination of a lot of things that make it capable for someone to be a writer, actor [and more].”

With that combination, this Retriever is ready for big things ahead.

Jeff Seidel ’85

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