Theatre and drama student Ross Rebennack becomes playwright, actor, and director at IU Bloomington


“Performing music and theatre are closely related. So, one day I just said I’m going to try this acting thing out. You get to be in character the whole time and it’s one final product in the end,” Rebennack said.

He was interested in mafia and mob relationships and spent some of his free time reading related biographies. Rebennack found that most mobster movies or books explore the lives of 40-year-old men who were very refined in business. He was interested in a new perspective. Rebennack decided to mesh his two interests to write and direct a play that focused on a mob family after the loss of a mob boss.

Practice for the April 15 opening of “For the Family” was well underway when two actors dropped out before and after spring break. A student who was able to pick up the role seamlessly filled the first opening. During spring break, another actor dropped out and Rebennack had a hard time filling the spot.

“I ended up acting, directing, and writing. It was challenging to see it from all those points of view,” Rebennack said.

In April, Rebennack had the opportunity to meet and exchange contact information with actor and recipient of IU honorary doctoral degree Jonathan Banks. He hopes this connection will help him build his network when he heads to Los Angeles at the end of the summer to find an agent and a manager. Rebennack plans to adapt “For the Family” into a film script.

Seek out your professors—I mean, that's what we're there for. And if the door's closed, knock on it. And keep knocking on it until somebody answers.

Murray McGibbon