David Corris is a nationally known actor, singer and puppeteer who returned to Roosevelt University this spring semester to complete his bachelor’s degree.
“I knew I should get the college degree,” said Corris, who left Roosevelt’s musical theatre program in 2010, a semester shy of graduating, in order to join the national touring cast of Curious George Live.
One thing led to another with Corris then moving on to a national tour of Avenue Q where he played the lead roles of Princeton and Rod.
From there, Corris went on to perform in a number of regional shows around the country, and he opened the world premiere of Tangled: The Musical as Maximus with Disney Cruise Line in 2015.
“I was on contract, I was making money and I also had some time” on the cruise ship circuit to begin writing manuscripts for picture books, Corris recalled.
That was when he began to think about returning to Roosevelt to finish up on what he started – a bachelor’s of fine arts degree with a concentration in musical theatre, which he received on May 5 at Roosevelt University.
“I know it wasn’t easy for him to come back, especially after being away so long,” said Sean Kelley, associate dean of Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and director of the Theatre Conservatory.
“David is so talented and has shared so much with all of us by returning – and I truly believe his experience and degree will open new doors for him,” said Kelley.
Calling it “one of the biggest decisions I’ve made in my life,” Corris used much of his savings to return to Roosevelt’s theatre program, which he learned on the road had a stellar reputation with many theatre professionals.
Taking courses in dance, voice, acting from the musical stage, period styles and many other areas, he picked up where he left off in 2010, and is now looking forward to getting back on the trail of auditions, more touring, and maybe one day continuing for a master’s degree in directing or creative writing.
“It was a very personal decision to come back, but I’m so glad that I did this,” said Corris, who believes he got more out of the semester from a different perspective than he may have, had he completed his studies initially as planned in 2010.
“I don’t think you need a degree to prove your worth,” Corris said. “But I do believe it will someday lead to new opportunities for me in other areas like teaching, directing and writing. I am looking forward to what comes next,” he said.