Louisiana born, Canada raised: Road to success and talent


Siddharth Gaulee

Martha Zabel portrays a player in “Pippin.”

Not very many people are born in Baton Rouge and move to Alberta, Canada when they’re only one year old and end up at ULM in the cast of “Pippin.”

But one person did: Martha Zabel, a junior marketing major from Andrew, Alberta.

Martha’s dad, Richard Zabel, was working in Louisiana when he met her mom, Donna, who was born and raised in Louisiana. Her mom also got her master’s degree at ULM.

“I had always wanted to come to school in Louisiana, and it worked out for me to come here,” Martha said.

One can imagine how different Alberta is to Monroe. Martha had never experienced crawfish or humidity before coming to Monroe.

“These are two things we definitely do not have in Alberta,” she said.

Although Martha gets homesick and misses her parents and her brothers, there are some things she likes about being in Monroe.

She has family that lives in West Monroe and Zachary, Louisiana. She enjoys spending time with those family members she didn’t see a lot of growing up and, of course, all the great food.

In high school, Martha was involved in theater class and loved to perform. She was in “Seussical” and “Shrek The Musical.” So when “Pippin” rolled around, with a little encouragement, she jumped at the chance to audition.

Her favorite part about “Pippin” is being on Brown Auditorium’s stage with the set and costumes.

“I think this is when our cast came alive, and we started perfecting all of the details,” she said.

She has also loved getting to know everyone in the cast.

“I didn’t know anyone when I auditioned, so it’s awesome getting to spend time with new people and getting to know them,” Martha said.

The cast of “Pippin” has enjoyed getting to know Martha as well.

“Martha is really fun to be around. She’s always making whatever room she’s in brighter, and she’s very hardworking,” said Ethan Dennis, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major.

Ansell Jordan, a junior general studies major and assistant stage manager for “Pippin,” said Martha is one of the sweetest and most fun people he knows.

“She is excessively talented,” Jordan said.

Martha said if she could say one thing to the cast and crew it would be “thank you.”

“Thank you for being so kind and encouraging. Thank you, Miss Robin, for encouraging me to audition and being one of the most inspiring people I know,” she said.

Martha doesn’t know what’s next for her. She wouldn’t mind moving back to Alberta after she graduates, but she may get her master’s degree or do an internship somewhere. No matter what, ULM will always be in her heart, wherever she ends up.

“One thing I really hope I carry in my life is to listen to people and be there for them. To always be a friend to those who need one. I want everyone to feel included and accepted,” Martha said. “I really think ULM has shaped me to be a successful adult from learning from everyone at the BCM, the cast of ‘Pippin’ and our administration.”