Sophomore Finds Freedom on the Stage

by RikkiLynn Shields


Ellen Farrelly, a sophomore chemical engineering major with a theater minor, has been involved in preforming arts since the second grade.

Originally from Queens but currently residing in Yonkers, Farrelly began singing in her elementary school choirs in the second grade and by the time middle school rolled around, she decided to give musicals a try, and that’s when she fell in love.

From the beginning, Farrelly was an Irish step dancer. With her love for performing, she tends to lean more towards dancing-based roles, so she considers dancing to be her specialty– however, singing is a close second.

As a performer, she expressed her love for the freedom she has on stage: “being able to sing and dance around as much as you want and having an excuse to do so.”

Farrelly knew that she would be coming to Manhattan College way before she even began submitting her college applications. However, she knew that she wanted to study something a bit different than where her passions were steering her. However, she still wanted to incorporate them into her experience here.

“I’m a third generation Jasper and I practically grew up on this campus. I love this school and I couldn’t see myself at any other school. When I was trying to decide what to study, I felt that I needed something other than the math, science, and engineering classes to do so that I could have a balance in my life. Theater is a great escape.”

After Manhattan, Farrelly doesn’t plan on doing anything professional with her performing arts experience. However, she hopes to keep it as a hobby for the rest of her life, because it is something she truly loves to do. While Farrelly doesn’t plan to do anything performing arts related after her time here, playing Sandy from Grease has been her lifelong goal.

“I haven’t been given the opportunity to do the musical yet, but I would jump through hoops to get the Sandy role.”

While her passion for performing arts defines most of her hobbies and interests, Farrelly is very interested in pharmaceuticals.

“I am very interested in the world of pharmacy.  I work as a pharmacy technician at CVS, and I’m thinking about a degree in pharmacy after undergrad. I also like being involved in pharmacy related research with respect to chronic Lyme disease.  My younger sister has chronic Lyme disease, and the challenges she has faced with the disease motivate me to find an easier way to deal with this illness for people in the future.”

As a young performer, Farrelly has always had a love for the leading ladies that she has worked alongside in different productions.

“When I was a freshman in high school there was a senior named Gracie Honohan who played the leading lady roles in all three of the shows I was in with her. As a freshman I looked up to her. I was in the ensemble and she would always come to the rehearsals early and help me learn the soprano parts.  Then, last year, when I was a freshman in college, there was a senior in the leading lady role, Siobhan Connor. She welcomed me into the Manhattan College Players, and made me feel right at home in the Players community.  I hope one day I will get a leading lady role and have the same effect on a freshman coming into the performing arts community that these two leading ladies had on me.”