Michael Kurowski, a 2012 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, seems to be on a real upward trajectory in his pursuit of a career. Now in his third year at Columbia College Chicago, a liberal-arts college focused on the arts and media education, he’s already been in six college “Mainstage” musicals/shows, and recently made his Chicago debut as a lead in Jackalope Theatre’s production of “Four.” He soon will appear in the ensemble cast of the first Chicago-made production of “American Idiot,” and he’s landed a Lunchables commercial as well as a small role on the TV show, “Chicago Fire.”
“It has been an exciting three years,” said Kurowski.
Now getting real close to a BFA from Columbia in musical theatre, Kurowski says looking back at his college experience so far is difficult to describe, other than to say it has been incredibly eye-opening for him as both a performer and as a person.
“In the fall of 2012 when I got here, I was thrown into the heart of the theatre capital of the world and since then it has become a home to me,” he said. “The thing about Columbia is that it’s a place where students must push themselves and their talents to their limits—and then find ways to blend that into their careers.”
‘Decent human being’
Since matriculating at Columbia, Kurowski has become an accomplished singer, musician, actor, dancer and, most especially, a student. “I could go on forever about my classes and how the teachers at Columbia have helped pave my way into the professional world, but I should give credit where it really is due,” he said. “Honestly, NDP is where I learned to be a great student and a decent human being. It gave me a safe place to make mistakes, both in an out of school, and then to learn from them.”
He said making the transition to college was easy for him because Notre Dame prepared him well beyond anything he could imagine.
“NDP gave me the opportunity to balance my school work and theatrical work at the same time, which is an invaluable skill, plus I was involved in choir, musicals and the school band, which helped me develop an ear for music. Thanks, Mr. Martin and Mr. Fazzini!”
Kurowski also credits Notre Dame for helping him make good first, second and beyond impressions. “Interestingly enough, I found that talent and reputation are of equal importance in my career,” he said. “NDP helped teach me how to make a good impression to others and how to be professional in a new environment. That is incredibly important because performers are constantly job searching since shows never last long enough to make a real salary from them. Truth is, if you create a good reputation for yourself and always bring your best work to the table, people take notice. Because everyone knows everyone else in this city, it doesn’t take long for a reputation, good or bad, to spread to directors higher up the food chain.”
No half-baked papers
A lover of literature and writing, Kurowski goes especially out of his way to also give props to NDP’s English department.
“Mrs. Bembas always had a comfortable classroom to be creative,” he said. “And Mr. Davis helped me appreciate all forms of literature—‘Heart of Darkness’ is still one of my favorite books—and Mr. Butorac helped push me to my limits as a writer and a student. I actually owe Mr. Butorac quite a bit. He never settled for anything less than the best from his students. He constantly demanded more from my writing, which now has turned into my own subconscious demand for better and better work from my writing and music.”
He said it physically hurts to turn in a half-baked paper or compose lazily written music. “Mr. Butorac always made class discussions interesting and held his students to the highest educational and moral standards. I can’t thank him enough.”
So while he’s looking forward to great and rewarding career after college, Kurowski can’t help but look behind to what likely helped make that possible. “I am very proud of where I came from and I want those that follow at NDP to know that.”
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.