Acting students embrace the spotlight in outside theater productions

Talented Blake Stage Company members participate in professional community spring productions in hopes of improving their craft, gaining experience and showcasing their talents to a new array of people.

After participating in school productions, students decided to take their enjoyment of musical theater to new heights by joining outside shows such as Ovations Theatre’s production of Little Shop Of Horrors, that was showcased March 1, 2 and 3, and the Young Artists of America’s (YAA) production of Les Miserables, performed last Saturday.

Senior Sam Greitzer, who has performed in multiple Stage Company shows including 1940’s Radio Hour, Much Ado about Nothing and Drowsy Chaperone, was casted to play the role of The Dentist in his first Ovations production.

Ironically, Little Shop of Horrors was the first show that Greitzer has ever done, where he also was The Dentist at Loiederman Middle School. He adds, “[It’s] the one show I always said I would do again if I got the chance, and so, here I am and I’m having a blast.”

For junior Eva Salins, this show was not her first time with Ovations, but she was excited to return for another thrilling high-quality performance as the role of Mrs. Mushnik. “I think you just get a deeper experience there because [at Blake] we try and do every angle onstage and offstage, but [with Ovations], it’s really focused on onstage.” She says.

Other students not taking part in Ovations have vocalized their experiences with YAA and its company of gifted performers. Sophomore Natalya Jimenez, who plays Whore #3 in Les Mis, expresses that YAA offers a community of experienced student actors.

“Everyone around you is so talented and [has] worked with other people already outside of the YAA community,” she says. “There’s always a chance to improve in your skill whether it be acting, singing, dancing or any other part of stage.”

For students like junior Ella Gatlin that want to purse musical theater as a career, YAA offers students with the same interest that make it easier to expect professionalism and commitment.“I really like being around that kind of… environment where people are really, really serious about everything they do.” She says.

Gatlin expressed her excitement with getting to play the leading role of Cosette in Les Miserables. “I’ve been singing Cosette since I was five years old…I’m really excited to get to actually play the role,” she says.
Although both companies’ productions took  place earlier in the month, participants have expressed the positive impact it has had in their acting experience. Despite the cost, Ovations and YAA offer entertaining semi-professional experiences for students serious about theater.