by Madalyn Johnson, Asst. A&E Editor
Jiuxing “Paul” Fucao, a junior majoring in management and marketing and minoring in digital media art, is a prominent performing presence on Manhattan College’s campus, as a member of Players, Music Ministry, and Jazz Band.
Fucao is originally from Shanghai, China. Leaving his family behind, Fucao came to the US alone when he was just 14 years old.
“It took me a while to adjust, but since I attended a boarding school, I was able to assimilate rather quickly. It definitely helped that I came to New York, as Shanghai is the largest city in the world, and New York definitely feels closer to home than anywhere else, albeit with a much smaller population, one-third of that of Shanghai,” said Fucao.
Fucao attended boarding school at the Stony Brook School on Long Island and continued studying abroad in the U.S. through college under a student visa. Typically in a year, Fucao goes home once to see his family for two to three weeks at a time during the winter intersession or summer vacation.
“It’s certainly hard and I miss them a lot, but I do call them regularly. I’ve gotten used to being away from them over the course of seven years. Music helps me to take my mind off of a lot of things, homesickness included. When I submerge myself in music or any other type of performing arts, I tend to forget about everything unpleasant and just enjoy the moment,” said Fucao.
Fucao began learning English when he was just three years old but it wasn’t until a year after living in the U.S. that he felt like he had solid communication and writing skills. Adjusting to a new culture was difficult for him at first but he had help from his “dorm dads” at his boarding school. He has since used those skills he has gained to become a valued member of the Manhattan College community.
“I’m the Marketing Chair of Players, Digital Marketing Manager of Visual & Performing Arts, and the School of Business Vice President in Student Government. In my free time I practice photography, play the piano and bass, and I take up photo and piano gigs from time to time,” he said.
Fucao started playing the piano when he was six years old. He became interested in the performing arts in in high school, and joined the Theater Arts Society and Chamber Singers. He had never performed in an acting role before his junior year of high school.
“Theater instantly drew me in. The sensation that theater brings is thrilling to say the least: it is a refreshing experience every time taking on a role, however insignificant it may be, to live out his or her life until the curtains close,” said Fucao.
Fucao received the performing arts scholarship over this past winter break. It is required that the recipients actively partake in two performing arts clubs on campus, Players excluded.
“I received the award thanks to the generosity of Professor Andrew Bauer, the Director of Performing Arts, who told me that I was given the scholarship due to my past contributions to performing arts. I also have dear friends in performing arts that recommended me as a worthy recipient, and I owe them my deepest thanks,” said Fucao.
Fucao is currently working as the assistant music director for “Urinetown,” the Players’ spring musical, which he considers his biggest project. He assists in making sure music rehearsals go smoothly as well as run them when the Music Director, Bauer, is absent.
“The performing arts program here at Manhattan College is very impressive considering that we’re not a performing arts school per se. The fact that Players is essentially student run is a very attractive aspect of the club for me as well, as the faculty director traditionally has acted as an overseer and adviser, instead of someone who decides everything we do down to the most minute detail. This proud tradition continues to this day, and hopefully will continue into the foreseeable future,” he said.
Urinetown performances will take place on April 11, 12, and 14. In the meanwhile, Fucao is continuing assisting the other Players with notes on their performances and questions that the actors and actresses may have.
“As part of the routine duties of Marketing Chair, I also work with Taylor Brethauer, our Graphic Designer, and designed the poster and other marketing materials which will start appearing on campus in the coming days. I am also the club photographer, and I will be taking pictures at dress rehearsals during tech week,” said Fucao.
Fucao’s time at MC is starting to draw to a close, but it seems performing arts will continue to be an integral part of his college journey until that time.
Editor’s Note: Taylor Brethauer is a senior writer for The Quadrangle.