The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Curtain call

Junior+Addyson+Laisch+performs+in+the+play+Laramie+Project.+This+production+took+place+at+Theater+West+End%2C+a+Sanford-based+playhouse.
photo by Addyson Laisch
Junior Addyson Laisch performs in the play Laramie Project. This production took place at Theater West End, a Sanford-based playhouse.

Anyone who has seen a school drama production has seen senior Carter Wegman in action. They know him as Nick Bottom in Something Rotten or Damian in Mean Girls, a wide range of roles in his four years on stage. But what they do not know is that Wegman has also been in productions at The Ritz, Theater West End, Wekiva River Players and the Orlando Family Stage. Wegman is not the only one, as several members of Hagerty’s talented theater cohort consistently participate in community theater shows at venues across Central Florida. 

This can be difficult for busy actors to juggle, as rehearsal time differs between every program and theater company depending on levels of professionalism or skills required for every show, but performers often rehearse for four hours every weekday for six weeks leading up to the show.

“Every program is different, and I’ve performed at some places that mainly emphasize dance training. Other programs I’ve participated in focused more on solely sharpening the singing or acting skills, allowing the cast to grow in a different way. Rehearsal and training really just depends on the strengths and emphasis of the programs themselves,” Wegman said.

Another challenge in participating is that cast members will often have to pay about $500 to cover production costs for scripts, costumes and stage design. One of the most popular playhouses have participated in is Theater West End, a performing arts venue in Sanford, Florida. Theater West End puts on professional shows, but also focuses heavily on their education program, which is open to students of any experience level.

“Our goal is really just to help our performers shine by putting on fully-staged versions of renowned musicals to give them a taste of what they could continue to pursue at the collegiate and professional levels,” education coordinator Sophie Cooper said.

This school year, Hagerty’s Purebred Productions debuted three productions, two musicals and a play, Mean Girls, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Clue. While participating in these productions helps the cast become more comfortable with being on stage and performing, doing community theater shows can take that a step further. Junior Addyson Laisch has participated in several local shows at Theater West End, allowing her to maximize her potential as a performer.

“For the past three years at Hagerty, I’ve performed with the majority of the same people, but doing shows outside of school has forced me out of my shell and perform with new people, and every show has a different outcome because of the cast that does it. I’ve been lucky to be able to bond with my castmates from community shows that I wouldn’t have known otherwise,” junior Addyson Laisch said.

Overlapping rehearsal schedules or debut dates are also a hurdle for these actors to overcome; however, junior Mallorie Nusbaum, who started theater this year, embraced the challenge. 

The Drowsy Chaperone was my first show at Hagerty, and I did Legally Blonde at Theater West End at the same time, which was difficult but worth it,” Nusbaum said. “Ultimately, doing Legally Blonde allowed me to become a better performer because I learned things from the professional setting that I never would’ve learned by doing school theater or online.”

Another popular playhouse that performers frequently do shows at is Wekiva River Players. Performing continuously since 1993, Wekiva River Players is Seminole County’s longest-running theater ensemble. In contrast to Theater West End, Wekiva River Players is now mainly focused on being an educational theater program and uses venues like Lake Mary High School and Eastmonte Civic Center in Altamonte Springs to put on student productions. 

Sophomore Shaun Epperson mainly performs at Wekiva River Players, which has improved his performing abilities and skills exponentially.

“It has allowed me to become a better actor and singer because the shows and roles I get cast in are very diverse so they push the way I can act and use my voice,” Epperson said. “Being able to sing, dance, and act in front of a bunch of strangers has helped me believe that I can do pretty much anything.”

Community theater allows performers to gain opportunities and experience by cultivating their passion at a professional level.

“Aside from allowing me to build up my skills, performing in these shows has taught me the importance of being fun and comfortable to work in a sometimes tense environment. The most important thing theater has done for me is allow me to build connections with casting directors and create relationships with my castmates and peers because we constantly support and push each other to be the best we can be on and off stage,” Wegman said.

154 Views
Leave a Comment
Donate to The BluePrint Online
$510
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Hagerty High School. Your contribution helps us publish six issues of the BluePrint and cover our annual website hosting costs. Thank you so much!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kailey Calvo
Kailey Calvo, Print Editor
Kailey Calvo is a junior at Hagerty High School and this is her second year on staff. She is acting secretary of Rho Kappa and treasurer of Girl Up. In addition to being heavily involved in her community, Kailey enjoys traveling, reading, and attending concerts.
Donate to The BluePrint Online
$510
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Hagerty Journalism Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest