Like her attraction to the limelight, senior Christie Graham comes by her connection to Catholic University naturally. She hails from a long line of University alumni, including her father, Bill Graham; multiple aunts, uncles, and cousins; and her grandfather, William H. Graham Sr., who taught drama at the University for 41 years, serving as the drama department chair and founding the M.F.A. Acting program.
“The School of Music is always bringing professionals to campus for guest lectures. It’s so important to have those connections.”
Following in William Graham’s footsteps, Christie’s family embraces the theater. Her parents met when her then-actress mother auditioned for her then-producer father. Being on stage is what she’s always wanted to do with her life, and when it came time to select the college that would be the launching pad for her career, all it took was one visit to Catholic University and she was hooked.
“Catholic has a very kind energy,” says Christie. “It has a very spiritual student body, and beyond that, it is just a very nice place to be.”
The unique bachelor’s program in musical theater at the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music had its own appeal for Christie. The strong emphasis on musical theory is giving Christie a fuller and more robust understanding of music as a language alongside the emphasis on acting and dance, making her and her fellow students serious “triple threats.” Plus, unlike similar programs at other universities, the School of Music encourages students to audition off campus to acquire real-world experience and to introduce themselves to the D.C. theater scene.
“Washington, D.C., has an amazing theater community,” says Christie. “The campus is only 15 minutes from the city, and you have so many top-quality theaters right at your fingertips. We go and see shows regularly, plus the School of Music is always bringing professionals to campus for guest lectures. It’s so important to have those connections.”
Christie landed her first professional gig as Tracy in Hairspray at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Md., in the summer of 2015. After she graduates next spring, she intends to stay in D.C. and continue performing as she pursues her career in the spotlight.