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Cassidy Connolly

Sophomore Amelia Fanelli has acted in many plays, including Mercy's fall play Murdering the Mob. However, she plans to become a doctor after college, rather than pursuing an acting career.

Cassidy Connolly, Journalism Student

Imagine: Times Square. People rush to the subway, or the workplace, or home from the night shift, ever in a hurry. Taxi drivers in their bright-yellow vehicles honk their horns and yell out their windows in thick Brooklyn or Jersey accents. Street vendors bark “Hot dogs!” and “Get your T-shirts, only ten bucks!” at passersby. And rising above them all, your name in lights, sparkling over the chaos of New York City.

Who hasn’t dreamed that dream?

Many people think sophomore Amelia Fanelli still dreams it.

But Fanelli, 16, is content with leaving her acting career right where it is: at the Motor City Youth Theater in Redford.

She doesn’t want to be rich and famous. She wants to be a doctor.

“People will come up to me and say, ‘Well, you obviously want to be an actress,’” says Fanelli, a Farmington Hills resident.

Don’t misunderstand; theater is a big part of her life.

Fanelli has had a lot of memorable moments onstage; the eighth grade class play sticks out especially in her memory. “I had hoped for something like A Tale of Two Cities,” she remembers. “But we got Twain’s Tales instead.” In a Canterbury Tales-like plot, characters in Twain’s Tales spin tall tales by Mark Twain for entertainment. “There were two characters in the play that were really gender-specific,” Fanelli says. “Virginia had to be a girl; Otis had to be a guy.” She received the male lead of Otis. “Apparently, I changed the director’s mind,” she quips.

Another surprise role came in a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with the Motor City Youth Theater. “I was supposed to be Lady Macduff,” she explains, “but something happened with the actors playing Macbeth and Macduff, so I ended up being Macbeth.”

At Mercy High School, Fanelli’s favorite class is Oral Interpretation, and she is a member of the cast of the fall play, Murdering the Mob. However, she also enjoys science, expressing regret that she chose not to take biology during her freshman year.

After all her experience with drama and glamour it may seem surprising that Fanelli likes straightforward science. What made her choose the mundane reality of medicine?

The answer is simple: the need for consistency. “I honestly don’t think I could ever be happy [with] acting as a career. It’s a phenomenal lifestyle, but I need something different. I hear about all these starving artists in New York, and I think, ‘You know, that’s great, that really is.’ But I just don’t have the temperament for it. I need a steady job, all the time, doing one thing.”

Helping others is definitely a factor as well. Fanelli says she has considered humanitarian organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

You may never hear about the famous Amelia Fanelli. She may simply disappear into relative obscurity, a doctor somewhere, saving lives, generally going unrecognized. And, if that happens, she’ll be happy. She may bring an end to her acting career, but she will start a new career of bringing medical aide to those who need it most. It may not be the glitz and glam of Hollywood, but Fanelli’s career choice has the potential to change hundreds of lives.