Student performers involved in community theater

Elise Keller

School theater productions like “Chicago” get students involved in theater, but those who participate in theater outside of school have different opportunities.

“I’ve been in 10 shows outside of school. My favorites were ‘Titanic,’ ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Matilda.’ I’ve been in three shows with the school, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Chicago,’” Annalise McCann, junior, said.

“The biggest difference is that the majority of people in high school shows outside of school plan to go into theater professionally, and most actors in school shows look at it as more of a hobby. It really depends on what show and what company it is; every show is a little bit different in the process, at school or not,” McCann said.

Lizzy Egley, senior, has been involved in theater companies CBC and Gateway Center for Performing Arts (GCPA) since freshman year.

“Most of my theater involvement has been outside of school. Some of the shows I have been in are ‘Grease,’ ‘Music Man,’ ‘Spring Awakening,’ and I’m currently rehearsing for ‘Matilda’ (which will be Nov. 22-24, at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School),” Egley said.

“Because I have never done theater at WGHS, it’s hard to say (differences between the two), but working with an outside theater company is great because you get to know so many people outside of your circle of school friends that you would see doing a show at school. Some of my best friends have come from doing shows with theater companies outside of school,” Egley said.

“There is a benefit to outside of school shows because you work with different directors, sometimes perform at professional theaters, and work with people who have the same mindset as you, and can prepare you for professional theater,” McCann said.
Both McCann and Egley got their start in theater at a young age.

“I think I got started in theater just because I began taking dance classes when I was a toddler, so we figured we might as well try it. Also, my mom did some theater when she was little. I remember auditioning for my first show when I was about six, and I remember that my mom and my grandma brought me and my sister to the audition. I’d like to think that my grandma is part of why I do theater. She always loved classic musicals and came to every show I’ve ever been in. I remember her bringing me to quite a few of my auditions when I was very young,” Egley said.

“I danced for 10 years, and then decided to do musical theater instead, which was a great decision for me. I started doing community theater in middle school, and now I do shows at COCA and GCPA,” McCann said.

“I think my favorite part of theater is not just getting to show people what I can do but to be able to express myself through it. Getting to express my own emotions and what I’m dealing with in my own life through singing or dancing is nothing like anything I’ve ever done, and I’m so lucky that I have the opportunity to do that,” Egley said.

“My favorite part of theater is telling a story to the audience that is relevant and makes them feel something. I also love getting into a character and getting immersed into a story and life that’s different than my own,” McCann said.

“Even when playing a character, it’s always interesting to find how I can relate to what that person is going through to make my acting more realistic. It’s proven to be very therapeutic and has helped me through many of my own problems,” Egley said.

“Some shows like ‘Spring Awakening,’ which I did this past summer, give me the opportunity to be a vocal advocate and speak up about important issues for those who cannot. Knowing that I can use my talent to help others in that way makes me extremely grateful, and it makes me feel like I am doing something good for others, and not just for myself,” Egley said.


Elise Keller – Editor in Chief

This will be Elise Keller’s third year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.


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