Performer Interviews

Spotlight on Alana Harrison

How long have you been performing on stage? I have been performing since I was 10 years old, my first show was Beauty and the Beast. Addams Family will be my 10th show at Spotlight.

What was your first show at Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show at Spotlight was Beauty and the Beast, I was a villager. I watched all the older actors and I knew that I wanted to be like them one day. That show really started my love for musical theatre.

Why do you like performing in shows at Yorba Linda Spotlight? They are such a professional theatre company and always put on a top quality show. The directors are so supportive and they are awesome teachers. Whether you have a lead or supportive role the cast always encourages each other. I have learned something new from every show I’ve performed in. My confidence has grown as a performer and as a person. I have made so many great friends at Spotlight.

What is your dream role? That’s such a hard question because there are so many good roles out there. I would have to say Willard from Footloose, I love the song Mama Says. But if I’m being serious, Jenna from Waitress would be my dream role. She is such a complex character and it would be a challenging role.

Of the roles you’ve played, which has been your favorite? Definitely Wednesday Addams! I love the dynamics between all the Addams Family characters. The show is very funny and surprisingly sweet. Wednesday is relatable and a really fun character to play. I can’t wait to perform as her onstage! Another past favorite role was being a Storyteller in Once on this Island. Once on this Island was such a special story to tell.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Definitely! There are many amazing performers at Spotlight and I have learned so much from watching them over the years. The directors have really helped me with developing my acting skills.

What do you like to do when your not performing? I enjoy sketching and painting in my free time. Art is a strong passion of mine. I also play piano and write songs with my friends. I love going to shows, whether it be community theatre or touring productions. Like most teenagers, I am always hanging out with my friends.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I really like comedies, so I would choose Spelling Bee. I think that show is hilarious. Another one of my favorites is a well known classic, Les Miserables. It would be great if Spotlight could produce that one again.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? My weakest trait would be dancing. I’ve been taking more dance classes this year to improve my skills. The classes have definitely helped me and I’m a little more confident. My strongest trait would have to be singing. I’ve been taking voice lessons since I was 9 years old. Last year I started belting, and I’m working on developing that part of my voice.

 Of Spotlight’s past shows, which was your favorite and why? They are all special in their own way. The show that sticks out in my mind is Once on this Island. The cast was like one big happy family. Every performer really put their heart into the performance. Shrek was also a really fun show with nonstop energy. Every rehearsal was like one big party. 😉

Anything else you want to say? I want to say a big THANK YOU to Spotlight! Thank you for the amazing opportunities and helping me grow as a performer. I am so blessed to have met so many amazing people. I’m looking forward to making many more memories, and being a part of more awesome shows!

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Spotlight on Marie Beld

How long have you been performing on stage? I’ve been performing on stage since I was about 3 or 4. I started by taking dance classes and performing in dance recitals. When I was 8, I joined a children’s choir, and when I was 11 I did my first full length musical, at Spotlight!

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show with Spotlight was The Wiz in 2011. I auditioned with my older sister who had just done Spotlight’s last show, Thoroughly Modern Millie. After seeing her in that show I knew I wanted to be in the next one, but I was so nervous at the audition that I forgot all of my lyrics. Fortunately Melissa Staab, the director, sang with me until I remembered them again!

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? I love performing in shows with Spotlight because of the level of professionalism present and the people involved. The directors and staff are always kind and considerate but also uphold a high standard of professionalism at all times. This spirit translates to the cast. Everyone supports each other and encourages each other to be the best they can be. I always have fun in a Spotlight show and always come out of it learning something new about myself and my craft.

What is your dream role? Some of my dream roles are Ella in Cinderella, Lily in The Secret Garden, and any of the March sisters in Little Women.

Of the roles you’ve played, what has been your favorite? My favorite role that I’ve played is probably a Lead Storyteller in Once on This Island. Once on This Island is a beautiful show and a fun ensemble piece. I sang a small but special solo during Ti Moune’s final monologue. That scene was always emotional and without a doubt my favorite part of the show.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Spotlight has helped me grow as a performer exponentially. When I was younger, watching the older kids at every rehearsal was like a masterclass. Since then, I’ve learned to always be open to new ideas and never stop growing. Spotlight also taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner in any situation.

What do you like to do when your not performing? At my high school I am very active in both the choral program and theatre department. When I am not at rehearsal I like to spend time with my family and eat delicious desserts.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I would choose She Loves Me. It has a wonderful score and complex characters, and I think it would be lots of fun!

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? My strongest trait as a performer is preparation and organization. My weakest trait as a performer is that I am a perfectionist.

 Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? My favorite of Spotlight’s past shows that I’ve done is either Hairspray or Bye Bye Birdie. I got to be in these shows with both of my sisters, so they will always have a special place in my heart.

Anything else you would like to say? Thank you to the Spotlight directors and staff, past and present, for all that you have given me. I am so grateful for my time at Spotlight and all that I have learned. And thank you to my family and all the Spotlight families who do so much to help their children shine on stage.

 

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Spotlight on Karson Bollinger


How long have you been performing on stage? 
I have been performing since I was in kindergarten. I was in my schools production of Alice in Wonderland.

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? Suessical the Musical, 2012. I was in 4th grade. I was a who.

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? Everyone is just so kind. We all love each other. And I like to just be at the studio and have fun. I also do the most shows throughout the year with Spotlight and that means I audition. Auditions are one of the best things you can do in my opinion. Even if you don’t get in, or don’t get the role you want. Just keep auditioning.

What is your dream role? My dream role is Edna in Hairspray. Although, I do really want to be Jack in Into the Woods. And while I’m dreaming big, Phantom. But only in Phantom of the Opera, because let’s be honest, love does die. And it will die. Very hard.

Of the roles that you’ve played, what has been your favorite? That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child. I don’t really have one. I’ve been in so many shows I can hardly remember all the parts I’ve played. But if I had to pick one I would say Uncle Max in The Sound of Music.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Yes. Every show has taught me something else. Little Mermaid taught me how to mess up and recover on stage. Wizard of oz helped me learn how to master quick changes. I could go on, but the point is yes, I definatly wouldn’t be where I am now without Spotlight.What do you like to do when you’re not performing? I read and write. But I also watch a lot of tv and post rant/reviews on them (follow me on Instagram to read five paragraph essays on why Once Upon A Time is the best tv show @_s_h_o_w_t_i_m_e_)

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? Gosh I don’t know. I would love to do Into the Woods again, and Mamma Mia would be fun too, but a lot of the shows I want to do aren’t very family friendly. Avenue Q anyone? Oh and I almost forgot I REALLY want to do Jekyll and Hyde. (He’s also one of my dream role….s?)

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I can’t dance. No but in all seriousness, I’m not the best dancer. But I can sing well, I think.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? Wizard of Oz. It was such a fun experience all together. I made so many friends and it was one of my first actual lead roles. Not just a supporting character.

Anything else you want to say? Thank you Spotlight for letting me go on my acting journey with you. I can’t wait for Addams Family to open, and all the future shows I get to be a part of with you guys!

 

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Spotlight on Hannah Oertwig

How long have you been performing on stage? My very first show ever was through Yorba Linda Spotlight. I was 8 years old and have been performing for about 8 years now. My older sister introduced me to musical theatre and sparked my passion for performing. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 22nd stage production.

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My very first show with Spotlight was the first time they did Beauty And The Beast back in 2009. My older sister encouraged me to try out and it was my first time ever being on a stage. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 16th show with them.

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? I love performing with Spotlight because it truly is not like any other company. Spotlight’s quality of shows is not your average community theatre company. I love coming to honestly my second home because of how encouraging and supportive the environment is. Theatre can be very competitive at times and it’s nice to know that we are all there for each other. Also, I love how professional Spotlight is while we continue to have crazy amounts of fun. In every show, I’m always improving and continue to learn new things.

What is your dream role? I would absolutely love to play Penny Pingleton in Hairspray and Yonah in Children Of Eden. I would also like to play Audrey in Little Shop Of Horrors. Each of these roles sound great and interesting in their own ways and I would love to portray them.

Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? My first lead ever was in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and I was Sally Brown. That was such a fun role that I would love to play again! Also, I really enjoyed playing Andrea Devereaux in Once On This Island. But, playing Queen Aggravain right now in Once Upon A Mattress is definitely going to be in my favorite roles. I love how over the top she is and it’s super fun to be the villain.

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Spotlight has not only helped me grow as a performer but as a person. Their guidance and training has helped me improve in all areas. I have taken various drama and theatre classes that taught me the basics of acting. I have taken weekly voice lessons for years through Spotlight and I have improved immensely. I have taken many dance classes and continue to grow in my abilities. They have taught me the definition of teamwork, determination, and encouragement.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? I am very involved at my school, El Dorado High School. I am actively involved in EDHS choral music program and theatre department. When I’m not performing at Spotlight or school, I am usually creating makeup looks or hanging out with friends.

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? I would love for Spotlight to produce Children Of Eden! I have been fortunate enough to have done that show already through my school. I just love the simplicity, story, and gorgeous music. I know Spotlight would do a wonderful job. Some other shows I would love them to put on are Curtains, Catch Me If You Can, Bonnie and Clyde, Little Shop Of Horrors, and Les Miserables.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would consider myself a stronger singer and actress. I have always loved to sing and think it comes most naturally to me. I have definitely improved through vocal lessons at Spotlight. Dancing is probably my weakest trait. I’m not a horrible dancer, but it is what I’m least comfortable with. However, weekly dance classes have definitely helped me and now I’m focusing on tap. I am constantly improving and learning new things.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? I loved Once On This Island because of how unique it was. It had such a beautiful story, gorgeous music, and fun dance numbers. I also really enjoyed Shrek and Hairspray. They were both very energetic and upbeat shows!

Anything else you want to say? I would like to say how thankful I am for Yorba Linda Spotlight! They have shaped me into the performer and person I am today. They have supplied me with so many wonderful opportunities, lifelong friends, and an abundance of memories I will cherish forever. Through their guidance and support, I continue to learn and improve in every way. I would have never guessed I would be so passionate about theatre and performing as I am today!

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Spotlight on Victoria Goodkind

How long have you been performing on stage?  I started performing on stage when I was 8 years old and have been performing ever since. My very first show ever was here at Yorba Linda Spotlight. My brother’s friends had started doing shows and so he got myself and my sister into performing.

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight was Beauty and the Beast in 2009. It was my first experience ever performing on stage, so you could imagine how 8 year old me felt being on the stage for the first time in a major production. Once Upon A Mattress will be my 22nd show at Spotlight.


Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? 
I like performing in shows here because you won’t find a place like this anywhere else. Not only is their production value incredible, but the training and quality of shows they put together is unlike anything. Each show I do here, I grow into an even better performer and I continue to improve. We manage to put on incredible shows but still have so much fun putting them on. We have fun in rehearsals and have such a great support system with Yorba Linda Spotlight’s staff.

What is your dream role? I have been fortunate enough to have played one of my dream roles, The Witch in Into the Woods, here at Spotlight. Some roles that would be my dream to play would be Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Pennywise in Urinetown, and Bea in Something Rotten. Each of these roles add something unique to the show and are such strong women that I’d love to portray!Of the roles that you’ve played, which has been your favorite? My favorite role to ever play would be a tie between the Witch and Erzulie in Once on This Island. They were both challenging for me as a performer because they are two completely different roles. It helped me grow immensely vocally and in my acting abilities.Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Spotlight has definitely helped me grow as a performer in all ways possible. Ever since I was little performing, I have looked up to the older kids wanting to be like them and being my theater role models. I was able to grow through a constant support system and incredible training through the wonderful people who make up the Spotlight team. I have been able to go outside my comfort zone and push myself with challenging roles. I am constantly learning new ways I can improve myself in each show. They have also taught me how to be professional in this environment but still have an amazing time while I perform.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? When I am not performing at Spotlight, I am actively involved in my high school. I love participating in my schools choir, whether it be a concert or traveling the world with my choir friends. I also spend a lot of my time just hanging out with friends and seeing other shows around the county and supporting my peers.If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? If I could chose any show for Spotlight to produce, it would be either Urinetown or The Addams Family. I think they are both such unique shows and have something special to each. They both incorporate acting, singing, and dancing, which I think would help all of our performers to grow immensely. They also seem like so much fun to do and be a part of.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would definitely say that singing is my strongest trait. I take weekly vocal lessons here at YL Spotlight and that has been my main focus growing as a performer. Music has always been a passion of mine, so it isn’t a burden to practice over and over again. I would say my weakest trait would be dancing. I’ve always been a little stiff, so dancing did not come naturally to me. So, knowing that its my weakest trait, I’ve been taking dance classes through my school and through Spotlight, and I can already say I’ve grown immensely and I will keep practicing and improving.

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? My favorite show I’ve done at Spotlight would be School of Rock. It was such a new show to do and different than anything we’ve ever done before. I loved getting to see the younger kids work so hard to perfect their instruments and see how well they did on stage. I made so many new friends and was able to push myself outside my comfort zone. The show’s cast was incredibly close and I felt that after all of those long rehearsals and months of working hard, we were able to put together a fantastic show. It helped me grow as a performer by doing something that isn’t your typical musical theatre show.

Anything else you want to say? I would just like to say how grateful I am for Yorba Linda Spotlight. They are my second family and I have been fortunate enough to grow up having somewhere like Spotlight to come to every week. I have grown tremendously through Spotlight not only as a performer but as a person. They have truly shaped me into the performer I am and I would not have the passion and love for musical theatre without Spotlight!

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Spotlight on Ron Kinloch

How long have you been performing on stage? I began my “performance career” if you will in Kindergarten in my school’s production of The Music Man. My teacher Mrs. Bray was playing the role of Mrs. Paroo and the director needed some younger kids to fill out the ensemble. She saw someone like me, filled with energy, constantly talking in class, and someone who could never really sit still, so she asked me, or well really my parents, if I’d be interested in it. Before my parents could even respond, I jumped at the chance and shouted YES. That experience really skyrocketed my love for Musical Theatre and I’ve been performing onstage ever since!

What was your first show with Yorba Linda Spotlight? My first show with Spotlight was Beauty and the Beast, the first time they produced it back in the summer of 2009. I’ve been with the company ever since, and their upcoming production of Legally Blonde will be my 22nd show with them! (P.S.: Come see Legally Blonde April 21st through the 24th! Be there!)

Why do you like performing in shows with Yorba Linda Spotlight? As I stated previously, the people and creative team I get to work with. I can be having the worst day ever, but then I remember I have rehearsal and I instantly perk up at the fact that I get to come “home” essentially. Spotlight creates for itself such a warm and welcoming environment that I love being a part of. The creative team has practically become my mentors and I owe them everything when it comes how much I’ve grown in this business. The people I’ve gotten to work with over the past 8 years I’ve been with the company have become my family, and they keep me coming back. Along with all that, they pull out all the stops for their productions. They go above and beyond what people’s expectations are and then some! They will do whatever it takes to make these shows phenomenal and won’t pass over any little detail. With Mary Poppins for example, they could’ve easily said, “You know, Mary doesn’t need to fly. We can just have her exit stage right when the time comes.” and that would’ve been that. But they want to, like I said, go above and beyond, and so come end of Act One, Mary went flying over the rooftops of London. They will do whatever it takes to create a wonderful show, for the audience and for the cast.

What is your dream role? That’s a tough one! I have so many! Luckily through Spotlight I’ve had the opportunity to cross two of them off my list, Pinocchio from Shrek the Musical, and most recently, The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, but I would LOVE to play both again in the future. When it comes down to ones I haven’t played, Mary Sunshine from Chicago is for sure up there, along with Officer Lockstock in Urinetown. Both of those roles are so different from each other and I would love to be given the difficult task to make those roles my own and see what I could do with them. Other roles that I would love to play but aren’t necessarily dream roles are Prez in The Pajama Game, Bobby in A Chorus Line, Sylvia in Ruthless, Gomez in The Addams Family, and King Charlemagne in Pippin. Unrealistically, of course I have to say Elphaba in Wicked, and then Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton. Hey, a guy can dream right!

Of the roles that you’ve played, what has been your favorite? I would definitely have to say just recently, The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. It was so much fun bringing such an iconic role to life onstage in such a well known story. I loved making the role my own while also staying true to the character that everyone who’s seen The Wizard of Oz knows of. Not only that, but my costume was INCREDIBLE. It was the same one used in the Madison Square Garden Production and I LOVED it, it was hot, but I LOVED IT!

Has Spotlight helped you grow as a performer? If so, how? Absolutely! Besides school theatre previously, they were the ones to introduce me to this “brand new world.” I’ve learned so much when it comes to singing, acting, and dancing with the training I’ve received. The creative team has pretty much taught me everything I know, I’ve taken voice lessons with them, dance lessons, and so on. They’ve shaped me into the performer I am. I started with them as a performer, but as time went on, I began to get involved with the company through other aspects. With them, I’ve choreographed, stage managed, production managed, ran the box office, worked microphones, helped with hair and makeup, run stage crew, the list is endless! They’ve opened so many doors for me within the realm of theatre. Through them I now have various knowledge of numerous theatre fields, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

What do you like to do when you’re not performing? Honestly, I cannot think of a time when I’m not performing! I currently attend the Orange County School of the Arts in their Musical Theatre Conservatory, so even at school I’m singing and dancing my way through life. Then at night I usually have rehearsal or am practicing for some recital performance or school event. Even my job consists of performing! I currently work at The Disneyland Resort as a Performer, so even then I can’t get away from it! Haha! I would have to say that in the little time I’m not performing, I’m hanging out with friends, going to Disneyland, obsessing over Killer Whales and Paint The Night, and just living my life to the fullest!

If you could choose a show for Spotlight to produce, what would it be and why? So many tough questions! Haha! One hundred percent, I would have to say Urinetown. The show is so funny and crazy and I love how comedic everything is. Other shows I would love for Spotlight to do are The Pajama Game, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Pippin, and Bye Bye Birdie (again!). All of those shows have so many great characters and I would love to see what twists could be put on them.

What are your strongest and weakest traits as a performer? I would have to say that singing and acting are my strongest, while dancing is definitely my weakest. That’s not to say I’m the worst dancer, but that’s the one area I focus primarily on to improve upon. I love dancing the most so I love being able to work on it whenever I can!

Of Spotlight’s past shows, which has been your favorite and why? Another tough question! I’m gonna have to say top three, because I have too many favorites! In no particular order, Hairspray, Shrek The Musical, and of course, The Wizard of Oz. I absolutely loved Hairspray because of all dancing. I consider myself a pretty strong dancer, and it was so fun being one of the “Nicest Kids In Town” and portraying the “All American Teenager” while dancing on The Corny Collins Show. The dances were so fun to perform and that show just holds a special place in my heart. Shrek The Musical is also up there as well, simply because I got to portray one of my dream roles, Pinocchio. I just got to prance around the stage acting all sassy and just saying whatever came to my, well, Pinocchio’s mind (providing it was in the script haha). Also, I loved being in the big dance numbers, Story of My Life and Freak Flag. Pinocchio is essentially the leader of the Fairy Tale Creatures and it was so much fun being “the boss.” And last but certainly not least, The Wizard of Oz. Being able to portray the Cowardly Lion was such a dream, but there’s also another reason why I loved this show so much: the People. The four of us, Veronica Ornelas, Josh Bates, Jared Piper (Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tinman respectively) and myself became so close, along with Cassie Bangle, Grace Underwood, Rob Bergman, and Haley Enos (The Wicked Witch, Glinda, The Wizard, and Aunt Em). All together we became such this tight-knit family and were practically inseparable come closing show, and it was so hard to have to say goodbye to such an amazing experience.

Anything else you want to say? Thank you Spotlight for forming me into the performer I am today, I would not be where I am without you guys. It has been such an honor and a privilege working with you guys over the years, and I could not be more grateful for the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve been given. So thank you!