A moment with Leslie Balian Bush, President of the Understudies

When Leslie Balian Bush was young, her father, Dr. John Balian, took her to the theatre to see a play. Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, was being performed by the Wayne State University Department of Theatre. Immediately enamored by the stage and the energy she saw there, Balian Bush was thrilled and immediately hooked on theatre.

Balian Bush’s history with the Hilberry Theatre developed early. Her mother, Annette Balian, was active in the arts community in Metro-Detroit along with Wayne State University’s Theatres. Balian Bush attended plays at the Hilberry and accompanied her mother to many events hosted by the Understudies. Her mother was not only active in The Understudies, she was also the president of the group from 1992 to 1994.

Despite her love for WSU Theatre, Balian Bush attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for her undergraduate years. She went on to receive a graduate degree from Central Michigan University.

But the energy of the theatres at Wayne State University kept her interest. She enjoyed having the opportunities to meet with students and directors and learn how a Hilberry show comes together. Balian Bush followed in her mother’s footsteps, joined The Understudies in 2007 and became the new president of The Understudies this year. She seeks to ensure that The Understudies and the Hilberry Theatre continue to flourish under her leadership.

Balian Bush is looking forward to the exciting season this year and is especially excited for The Fantasticks and the return of the President’s Preview. Balian Bush calls the Hilberry Theatre “the jewel of Detroit” and wishes that everyone had the chance to experience it.

(Written by Rachel Perrell for Volume XXI, Issue 1, The Prologue.)

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