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JULY 28, 2017 | Andrew Hurst

Melissa Todd
Melissa Todd

On an October morning in 2014, Melissa Todd woke up with one word on her mind-Branson.

Branson, Missouri, is one of the premiere family vacation destinations in the country known for its live shows and entertainment venues.

Todd had visited Branson a few times growing up but had never thought she would be called to move there for her acting career. Since she was three years old, Todd has been a performer. She always knew God was calling her to acting.

“I love being able to step into someone else’s shoes,” Todd says. “Being able to create a character based off studying other people is my favorite.”

Within a few months from the time God had placed Branson on her heart, Todd landed an acting role after just a couple auditions. “After that, I was like okay… that’s a God thing,” Todd says. She moved to Branson in January 2015.

Since making this move three years ago, Todd has been able to exceed in different acting roles in Branson. She is now an award-winning actress. She plays the role of June Sanders in “Smoke on the Mountain”- a gospel musical comedy. “She (June Sanders) is the oddball in the family,” Todd says. “She’s pretty shy and quiet but also acts as comic relief in the show.”

Todd recently won the “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical” from the Broadway World’s 2016 (St. Louis Regional). “Smoke on the Mountain” won “Best Comedy of 2016” from the Branson Show Awards.

Though Todd has experienced success in her career, she gives all the credit to the Lord.

“I lean on the Lord for patience and to stay true to who I am,” she says. “Believe it or not, people assume that it is a glamorous lifestyle. It is to some degree but I have immensely had to lean on the Lord for patience with people. It’s just an everyday opportunity to be Jesus with skin on for people in the industry.”

Todd believes that her time studying Theatre at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) has played a significant role in her career.

“Two professors helped me significantly – Professor Rob Price and former Instructor Ursula Gutierrez. Studying under them and having the opportunity to perform in SAGU’s shows – that really did help me to prepare and really hone in on my acting skills.”

Melissa Todd Performing in "Smoke on the Mountain"
Melissa Todd Performing in “Smoke on the Mountain”

As Todd continues her role as June Sanders, she is optimistic for the future. Along with stage acting, she has a dream to perform as a voice actor for Disney one day.

“I am so excited for the new adventures-voiceovers, new shows and new roles,” Todd says. “I am excited in the thrill that comes with God opening new doors.”

To learn more about Smoke on the Mountain, click here .

About SAGU:
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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