As we are about to open not one, but two, performances this weekend as part of our summer intensive programming, the Duluth Playhouse prepares to say good-bye (for now) to 11 seniors taking the stage one last time with the Children’s Theatre and the Teen Intensive program. We want to recognize those seniors who’ve brought so much to our productions over their years with us and let them tell you about their experiences with the Duluth Playhouse.
Noah Cornwell has been doing plays at the Playhouse since he was six years old. He hopes that he hasn’t made his favorite Playhouse memory yet, but if he had to pick one it would be the first day he got his fake legs for his role as Farquaad in Shrek the Musical. The thing he will miss most about the Playhouse is the feeling of community that is created in every single show. Next year he is going to Webster University to obtain a BFA in musical theater. He’s looking forward to delving into the process of theater, rather than just performing. A piece of advice he would like to leave is, “Realize what you want to do, and then don’t let anyone stop you from doing that. The only one that can stop you is yourself.” His most embarrassing stage moment was in Titanic when he had to wear suspenders because his pants were too big; one night his suspenders snapped off, and he had to keep pulling up his pants the entire scene.
Bethany Westerberg has been in classes at the Playhouse since she was five and has been in shows since she was eight. Her favorite memory she made at the Playhouse was the giant dance party with all the fairy tale creatures during “Big Bright Beautiful World” in Shrek the Musical. She will miss all the people at the Playhouse because she grew up with them and will be sad to say goodbye. Next year she will be going to UMD to major in psychology. She is excited to go out on her own and meet new people. She would like to share the advice that “No matter your size, you can do anything.” Her most embarrassing stage moment was during Metamorpheses when she had to run and jump into the arms of someone in a pool, and she slipped and flew toward him. Luckily he caught her, but she was almost dropped into the pool. She would like to add that just because she’s little doesn’t mean she’s twelve.
Eric Fredrickson has been performing at the Playhouse since he was 11 years old. His favorite memory of the Playhouse was when he had the chance to really become his character during Fame. Eric will miss the people and the inclusive atmosphere. Next year, he is attending Drake University to pursue a BFA in musical theater, and he is looking forward to improving his craft and exploring theater as a profession. His advice is, “Forget about what people think about you, because if you don’t let it bother you, you can do the best work possible.” He would like to add come to the Playhouse.
Robert McGrady has been at the Playhouse since he was 12 years old. His favorite Playhouse memory is lifting Mary Myers in Cats, and he will miss the community and closer than family atmosphere the Playhouse has to offer. Next year, Robby will be going to The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for a BA in drama and a minor in music or art. He is looking forward to learning more about his craft, and being on his own. The advice he would like to give is, “Make decisions based on what you believe, not on what will make other people happy”. Robby’s most embarrassing stage moment was during Servant of Two Masters. He had a song where there was a lot going on for him, and he forgot an entire verse of his song. He would like to add that he drums, draws, and is cool.
Jake Polinsky has been doing shows at the Playhouse since he was six years old. His favorite Playhouse memory is greeting all of the little kids after Shrek the Musical and seeing what a special experience it was for them. When he leaves, he will miss all of the people and the bonding that happens during every show. Next year, he will be attending Brown University to major in economics and political science. He is most looking forward to taking classes that hone in on his major and meeting more students with similar goals and aspirations as him. A piece of advice he would like younger people to know is “Don’t let failures stop you, instead learn and build off of them.” He would like to add, “don’t reach young blood.”
Meghan Jarecki has been at the Playhouse since she was twelve year old. Her favorite memory is her first day of being at the old rehearsal space, the Playground. She remembers being terrified, quiet, and observing everyone all day and when she got in the car she told her parents she had found her people. Meghan will miss just being at the Playhouse and performing with people that she is close to, because the Playhouse has been her home. Next year Meghan will be attending UW-Stevens Point to get a BFA in musical theater. She is excited to expand in her craft and be on her own for the first time. Her most embarrassing stage moment was when she was young and in Prairie Fire theater. Every time she had a line she would forget it and the people on stage would have to nudge her to remind her. Her piece of advice is, “Don’t let anything become your everything because it will make you lose sight of yourself.”
Heather Montovan has been at the Playhouse since she was 15. Her favorite memory was either the Metamorphases sleepover or the Sweeney/Titus sleepover. She will miss the sense of family that everyone at the Playhouse provides. Next year, Heather will be continuing her education at UWS, and she is most excited about not being as nervous and naïve in her second year of college. Her most embarrassing stage moment is that she used to think she couldn’t breathe in the fake smoke, and would hold her breath until someone told her that wasn’t necessary. She would like to add bow ties are really cool.
Linnea Hinkel has been taking classes at the Duluth Playhouse since she was five, and has been in shows since she was 13. She doesn’t have just one favorite Playhouse memory, but a good one was when Noah and Linnea brought someone on a tour and made up a bunch of crazy stuff. Linnea will miss the feeling of comfort and safety, feeling like you can’t be embarrassed, and getting stage time. Next year, Linnea will be going to Pace in New York to pursue a BFA in acting. She is most excited for theater to take over her life, and to live in New York City. The advice Linnea would like to give is, “Be cool – reduce reuse recycle.” Her most embarrassing stage moment was while rehearsing for Flora and the Red Menace when she had to get up on a bed, and she fell off the bed right on her face. Then, when she was walking off stage, she tripped on the door frame and fell again. Linnea would like to add, “I am the most physically strong person here.”
This is Derek Ronding’s first show at the Playhouse. His favorite Playhouse memory is dancing in “All That Jazz.” Derek says being a new senior is fun, but he is sad because he will only get to do one play. He will miss the people and how close everyone is. Next year, Derek will be going to UMD to major in architecture. He is most excited to start a new chapter in his life. His advice is, “Follow your dreams.” His most embarrassing stage moment was when he shattered a glass and cut his hand. Derek would like to add that nothing quenches his thirst like a cold Arizona Iced Tea.
This is Tristan Brown’s first show at the Duluth Playhouse. His favorite Playhouse memory was Eric’s laugh during the Rock of Ages preview. He said it was, “the worst thing he had ever heard.” Tristan said that being a new senior was awkward, but everyone was very welcoming and made him feel like he’s part of the Playhouse family. He will miss the comradery, family, and new friends that he made. Next year Tristan will be going to Northland College to play basketball and study ecological restoration and pre-law. He’s most excited to be starting the theater program at his college and being in a show. The advice Tristan would like to give is “Work your hardest at everything, and you will never be disappointed.” His most embarrassing stage moment was when he broke a door that he usually ran through because it was locked. He would like to add, “stay in school, don’t do drugs, try new things, and recycle reuse reduce.”
Sophia Anderson has been doing plays at the Duluth Playhouse since she was 16 years old. Her favorite memory was opening night of Sweeney Todd, when power kept going out, and the whole cast came together as one and worked through it. She’s going to really miss the people; she really loves them a lot. Next year, Sophia is going to Hamline to study fashion merchandising. Sophia is excited to just begin. Her advice is, ‘”You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’ -Wayne Gretzky -Sophia Anderson.” She would like to add trust your heart, trust the stars, follow the ocean, find the magic, and feel the love.