Theater is the biggest and most influential part of my life. I stumbled upon it in sixth grade when my friends asked me to audition for the middle school musical with them. I was very against the idea of getting up in front of people, acting and singing, at first but, I soon found out that this was one of the best decisions of my entire life.
My theater experience started in sixth grade because my friends thought it would be a fun experience. At auditions for the musical “Peter Pan Jr.”, I realized that theater was something I really enjoyed doing. I got a part in the ensemble but within a week, I had already memorized the parts of everyone else in the cast. If everyone in the cast had been sick during the performances I could have done the show by myself. That’s how into theater I was back then and how into theater I still am. I enjoyed performing on stage as a lost boy and my first show was a success. I continued doing the musicals at St. John’s. I was the wicked witch in “Shrek Jr.” and for my last show at St. John’s, I was in the ensemble in “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” When I was in seventh grade I discovered a theater group for five to eighteen year olds and decided to start doing some shows with them in addition to the show I was already doing with my school.
I knew one person going into auditions, but once practices for the show were underway I reached out and made new friends. The show was “The Music Man Jr.” and it was one of my favorite shows that I have performed in. I was a Rivercity citizen and was paired with a stage family. I got to know them better and they felt like family to me on and off stage. In eighth grade I did another production with the same program, this time going into it with many friends. “The Little Mermaid” was a show I had always wanted to perform in and it was loads of fun to be a sailor. I had never had a role that required any kind of dancing so this was a first for me, even though we were just dancing with mops. Overall, my experience with theater outside of school was very fun and I expanded my friend group to people I had never known before.
Last year I started freshman year knowing a minimal amount of people because I came from a private school with a small class. I auditioned for the fall musical and soon discovered that I had found an entire world revolving around my favorite thing in the world, theater. The show was “Oliver!” and I was so grateful to be an orphan and have a small stage family later on in the show. Being an orphan was another great opportunity to have a minimal dancing part as we danced on tables and ran around like small children. I met so many new people during practices and shows and even met my now, best friend. As a sophomore I auditioned for “Cinderella” and was reunited with all the people I had met last year. I was casted as a peasant and a male waltz dancer due to the fact that my school is a bit short on boys for our shows. Being a waltz dancer was one of my favorite theater memories. I was partnered with a girl I had met during “Oliver!” and quickly learned that she was much better at dancing that I was. She helped teach me how to waltz properly and by the time the show came around we knew the dance perfectly. “Cinderella” truly was a fairy tale that I’ll never forget.
During my freshman year I also participated in “Apollo’s Overture”, an original play written by a Brookfield central alumni. It was a very different experience to have the writer of the play helping direct the show but it was definitely a helpful one. I played the present fate from greek mythology and therefore had to be an emotionless character with was a challenge. Doing a play instead of a musical was very different for me as I had never done a show without singing or dancing before. I met people that I hadn’t before because they didn’t do the musicals and found that plays were lots of fun to participate in but also a lot of work. My experiences with theater in middle school and high school have really shaped who I am today and possibly what choices I will make in the future.
I have never been a particularly outgoing person but, theater has helped me change that over the course of five years. Being on stage in front of an audience has given me confidence that I have never had before and it helps me with meet new people and even during school when giving a presentation or talking in class. If I never did theater in sixth grade or never continued with it in high school I would not be the person that I am today.