How long have you been performing on stage?
I started performing in Kindergarten, so about ten years ago. My very first performance was in a play about Santa Claus where I was an elf. I continued doing small shows through school all throughout elementary school. They weren’t official productions or anything, they would usually just be little musicals about the gold rush or the organs in the human body, things that were related to what we were learning in school. When I was eight, I started taking voice lessons, so I started singing in recitals a couple times a year. However, I didn’t start doing community theatre and “real” musicals until I was 10, so 5 years ago.
What was your first show with Spotlight?
My first Spotlight show was The Wiz in the summer of 2011. I was 10 years old and I played a Munchkin/ Oz Citizen. Once on This Island will be my twelfth show at Spotlight.
Why do you like performing in shows with Spotlight?
For one, the quality of their productions has always been outstanding. Not only through the sets and costumes, but the entire process of the show as well. Although it is a youth theatre, we’re always treated professionally and pushed to be the best performers we can be. The creative team has always been so helpful and supportive of me and to this day, teaching me so much. There is such a sense of family and support here, and I’ve met so many wonderful people here and made so many amazing friends.
What is your dream role?
Eliza from Hamilton. Without a doubt. I am a die-hard Hamilton fan, so that’s one reason. Also, I just love singing all of her songs so much. They’re all so catchy and well-written and fun to sing. The Baker’s Wife from Into the Woods is another dream role of mine, and I have been lucky enough to have played her before at Spotlight!! But I would really love to play her again in the future. Some other roles that I really want to play are Fiona from Shrek, Fantine in Les Mis, and Fanny Brice from Funny Girl.
Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite?
Ti Moune is my favorite roll I’ve gotten to play so far, because it is probably one of the most difficult roles I’ve ever had to step into, both vocally and acting-wise. I absolutely love a challenge when it comes to performing. This is the hardest I’ve ever had to work for a part, and I love it. This part has some of the hardest songs I’ve ever had to sing in a show before. I also have gotten to do a lot of dramatic, intense acting for this role, which was something I hadn’t done very much of before. I feel like being Ti Moune has broadened my horizons and helped me grow a lot as a performer. It has overall been a very fun role to play.
How has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer?
Let me start out by saying that starting Yorba Linda Spotlight was essentially what kindled my love for theatre in the first place. So I might not even be a performer today if it weren’t for them. So much of what I know about theatre is because of Spotlight. I have taken vocal lessons with Sarah, our musical director for a couple of years now, and she has helped me improve so much. I’ve learned most of my acting skills from Spotlight as well. Being in the shows and getting feedback about my performance from my directors has helped me learn a lot about acting. And when it’s not the creative team helping and teaching me, it’s the other performers. A lot of what I’ve learned at Spotlight has been from watching other, older performers and picking up on what they were doing. It has truly been such a great environment for me to learn and grow as a performer.
What do you like to do when you’re not performing?
Between school, theatre, and homework, I don’t usually have that much spare time during the year. (This is what I get for taking AP.) But when I do have free time, I enjoy drawing and writing stories. I also love to read and spend time with my friends.
If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why?
I would love for them to do A Chorus Line. It’s one of my favorites, and it has so many great roles in it. It’s also a very dance-heavy show, which I think would be a ton of fun.
What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer?
Singing is for sure my strongest. Music has always come very naturally to me, probably because I’ve been hearing it ever since I was born and I grew up with a piano teacher for a mother. I’ve always had great pitch and a good musical ear. Dance is my weak spot, as I am a very clumsy person. I’ve definitely improved a lot though. I used to not even be able to do a box step without tripping over myself haha… but yeah. Dance does not come naturally or easily to me, so I’m going to try my best to keep practicing and to keep improving.
Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why?
I loved being in Hairspray. That was my first time doing a more dance-heavy musical and I had so much fun. It’s just such a great, upbeat musical, and probably one of the best shows ever to be ensemble in. I also had an amazing time doing You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I was Lucy and it was the first time I had gotten to be a leading role in a show, and I learned so much from it. I also enjoyed it because (being that I was thirteen at the time and this was a junior show,) it was nice to be in a cast with so many people who were my age. I made so many friends during that show, and it really helped me come out of my shell a bit more at Spotlight.
Anything else you want to say?
I am so lucky to be a part of Yorba Linda Spotlight. Had I told myself back when I started here that I would improve as much as I have, I wouldn’t have believed myself. I never would have guessed that I would ever love performing as much as I do or that I would ever be as passionate about theatre as I am today.