Le Dieu My and the Broadway dream at New York University: Looking back at a student’s year who got eight scholarships in

25 September, 2021

Using her tutoring cost to pay for Broadway tickets in New York for half a year, Dieu My – a graduate Olympian in 2019 had never doubted her theatre dream. After a year at New York University, Dieu My had made significant growth and affirmed her “talent".

The story of Le Dieu My had received attention from the national media back in 2019 when she got her hands on eight scholarships in the US. However, hiding behind that achievement is a dream and a passion to pursue theatre - a path that is full of opportunities but also fraught with difficulties in Vietnam and requires youngsters to have great determination and passion for the role. Born in an artistic family, Dieu My considers her to be “lucky” as her passion for theatre from a young age seems to help her confidence in walking the path to New York University and to be immersed in the atmosphere of the artistic city of Broadway. Dieu My once shared

“Back in elementary school, I was part of the Sol Art choir. Since I was too young, I was only allowed to participate in one or two songs of the long performance. Back then, I ask the teacher to let me practice all the songs so that I can sing for a full performance. There is something that keeps drawing me into songs and plays.”



Her childhood dream and the discovery of her talent from a young age help Dieu My to grow more at The Olympia Schools. Holding many roles such as performer, screenwriter, director, and art director with the art teachers, Dieu My had produced many musicals that can be called “masterpieces” in her high school days. Mamma Mia (produced in the 10th grade) which is still popular in many generations of Olympia.

The spotlight in Mamma Mia at Olympia theatre remains inside Dieu My memory but her path had become more professional and different from the past. Looking back a year, the girl now has more stories to tell about the experience in the US and her first steps on the path to musical theatre that is full of splendor but also challenging.

Good morning, Dieu My. After a year at New York University (NYU), does your feeling still the same as it was on the day you got your letter of acceptance?

When I opened the letter from NYU and saw the “Congratulations”, I- I was so surprised, so surprised because I did it and all my efforts had been rewarded. The excitement to learn and to grow has been accompanying me through my time here at NYU.

It was a diverse experience when I got the chance to “throw myself” in different fields to challenge myself. From screenwriting, directing, designing, performing to choreography, every class drives me to step outside my comfort zone, challenge what I had already known. Different from other majors, my art classes start from 9 in the morning until 5 or 6 in the afternoon. The time that I spent for these classes made me realized that: “This is my passion” and I can feel my enthusiasm for it. I also got the chance to work with the upperclassmen on short musical projects. Therefore, after school, I used to go to “black box” theatres for work until ten or eleven.

In the last year, I took part in sound directing, lights directing, stage production for four musicals. As a young artist, I am anxious about my career path and sometimes even doubt my abilities. However, after a year at NYU, through my virtual musicals learning due to Covid, all of those doubts had turned into hopes for the future.



With NYU as the goal, what did you have to prepare and what role did Olympia play in the application process?

I am very grateful that Olympia had created an environment that encourages me to try to fail. From a young age, I was part of the choir and participated in many art competitions around the world. In middle school, I stopped investing in art to focus on liberal arts. Back then, I thought that I would not go back to art even though that was my passion.

However, transferring to Olympia drives me to participate in more activities, including dramas and theatres. In high school, I was trusted by my peers to lead a project when despite the fact I was a 10th grader. Furthermore, those peers were my upperclassmen, my friends at school that accompany me through the challenge. It was an environment that pushes me to continue this path. Additionally, during my university application process, I got a lot of supports from others such as recommendation letters from the teachers and UCC counseling for the interviews and documentation for apply universities in the US.



Why do you choose theatres as your career path when this is a field that is not entirely new in Vietnam but lacks opportunities?

There were times when I feel anxious about my future career, especially in this pandemic when all the theatre activities in New York were “frozen”. Those “stillness” in the pandemic gave me time to think and reflect on myself. No matter what happens in life, art is inevitable. Despite lacking opportunities or being frozen, there will always be a way to move forward. Challenges mean chances for me to have freedom in discovering my path toward arts.;

In the past year, is there any achievement that made you feel proud of your chosen path?

In my time at NYU, taking part in a musical project at the end of the year as a freshman is a great honor for me. That was an important project for my study path. However, I think my proudest project would be the recreation of “Les Misérables” by Vietnam National Opera & Ballet, performed at Hanoi Opera House. I was very lucky to get an internship at the Opera House and after talking with the director, I was asked to become the director’s assistant. Working in the official Opera House through the whole project from July. I am proud of what I had accomplished and more importantly, I got a feel for the theatre industry in Vietnam.



In your opinion, why is the study of arts important in this era and why do more youngsters choose to pursue their passion in life?

In my opinion, learning arts is learning how to perceive life and reflect it. When life is complicated, full of challenges and changes, arts help us to “harmonize” with the worries, to find answers for anxiety. Arts had always been significant and they will always be since the fruit of arts is the fruit of the minds and souls of humans. They will grow and change together with humankind.

About talents and passion for arts, does My think that it is time for us to take it more seriously and place it on the same level with other talents in today’s society that emphasize material wealth?

Yes. I think that art is gradually getting more appreciation and our need for art is growing every day.

Looking back at your journey, even though you’re just starting, how do you see yourself in the future?

I remember that last year for this question in my interview for the university, I answered that in 5 years, I will have my artwork to make my name known and brought Vietnam’s art into the world.

Up until this day, right now, I think I don’t want to be just thinking too much about the future and focus more on monthly or yearly goals. I just need to know and remind myself to continue my work, and my dedication to art. Every other goal will be the result of my dedication to my chosen path.

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