Cast Spotlight: Senior KAITLYN KELLEY
Senior Kaitlyn Kelley is making a splash with her first high school theatre experience as Matilda’s mother, Mrs. Wormwood. She was active in the Middle School program under Marti Salisbury, but since that time her focus has been on the choral music program at Alma High.
Miss Kelley says, “The Alma Theatre Program especially attracted me through the consistent hard work that is put in. I like that there is always a striving to better yourself and put in extra dedication. She adds, “My biggest challenge preparing for this production has been adjusting to the new environment I am in. As this is my first high school theatre experience, I felt a little underprepared and scared, to be honest. I have been working hard with others and myself to not only physically prepare for this show but to mentally prepare myself for it. It's taken a lot in me to grow trust and confidence in myself and I could not have done it without the rest of the cast.”
We’re so glad that Kaitlyn has “come out of her shell,” as she puts it, and has found her voice in the theatre world. It’s a departure from the quiet time she enjoys in libraries, thrifting, and being in her own personal space. “Being new to the theatre program in my final year of high school has been a great learning experience. I never had the confidence to jump back into the theatre program after middle school up until now and I am grateful I finally did. The work ethic and time management is very solid in the program and is a huge skill for life after high school.”
Thank you for taking that leap, Kaitlyn. Airedale Theatre is excited to introduce you to the Skokos stage. Congratulations on your new beginning!
6 months ago, Jenna Ogilvie
Cast Spotlight: GRANT ALLEN
Grant is one of those young men who seems to have his feet on solid ground, and he knows where he’s going. He found himself in the Alma Theatre program back in middle school when he was cast in “A Christmas Carol”, and according to Grant, “It’s been all gas since then.”
His involvement in smaller productions, theatre camps, and the Thespian Society prepped him to lead the cast in last year’s production of “The Messenger'' which took the Airedales all the way to the Thespians International Festival, representing the State of Arkansas. He feels his role as the young Irish lad Christy, caught up in civil conflict, was his most important to date. “That character tells such a touching story through an unorthodox method and there is real magic in it,” said Allen.
Mr. Allen shares his insights about the current production: “The message of Matilda is to always be yourself. It's a very stereotypical message for a children's story, but the uniqueness of how it's told is really what makes it special. The strange characters are really the big standouts of the show.”
When he’s not on stage performing, you can catch Grant on the athletic field. He serves as one of the captains of the soccer team, and he is a senior member of the cross-country team. Not only that, he excels academically as demonstrated by his twice participation in State History Day.
Nevertheless, as a senior, Grant looks back on his experience with the Theatre Department with particular fondness, especially with former classmates who have moved on.
Moving on is something that Mr. Allen is prepared for as well. “The theatre program has prepared me for the future by allowing me to build a work ethic. I want to attend the United States Air Force Academy after graduation, so this will require me to put that work ethic to use.”
Wherever your next steps lead, Grant, we know you will be successful. Thank you for your contribution to AHS Theatre!
6 months ago, Jenna Ogilvie
CAST SPOTLIGHT: MADDIE COCHRAN
For Senior Maddie Cochran, the Alma Theatre Department is a place where one of her greatest desires has come to pass. “I’ve wanted to play Miss Honey since I was in the 6th grade, and to finally get the opportunity has been more than wonderful.”
Miss Cochran comes to Alma with a long and impressive list of roles on her resume: Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, Wendy in Peter Pan, Anna in Frozen, and Miss Scarlet in Clue.
She was attracted to the Airedale program because of the level of professionalism. “Every person truly seems to care about theatre, and it’s very clear that they see potential in each and every student,” says Maddie. “The theatre program has made me a better actor and a more well-rounded person. I have developed better time management skills, and the directors have helped me grow as an actor.”
Although she maintains that Miss Honey is her favorite role to date, Maddie says that Miss Honey is a much more complicated character than she appears on the surface. “It has been more difficult than I thought it would be to portray her inner struggle. But with each rehearsal, I feel as if I am getting better at playing her character.”
We asked Maddie what the audience might expect from Matilda the Musical:
“The audience will experience a bright, bold show with larger-than-life characters. They will be sure to laugh, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are tears shed, too.”
Welcome, Maddie Cochran, to center stage at the Skokos Performing Arts Center! We can’t wait to see your debut role as an Alma Airedale!
7 months ago, Jenna Ogilvie
Cast Spotlight: MICK CLAWSON
If anyone is up to playing the iconic role of the notorious Agatha Trunchbull, that fierce tyrannical monster who "frightens the life out of pupils and teachers alike", It has to be Senior Mick Clawson.
When on stage, Mick is in his universe; his dedication to the craft is evident. Mick explains: “The Alma Theatre Program has a saying, ‘We are a high school troupe performing professional theatre.’ And that has been reflected in the shows I've watched and participated in since I moved here. The expected standard of us is challenging and that much more fulfilling to meet. The bar pushes our production quality to a very high level.”
High level indeed. Mick has moved on from his cameo appearance in The Nutcracker when he was just a tike, to being the youngest member of the professional cast at the Beard and Lady Inn’s murder mystery dinner show, Bedlam at the Beard and Lady. (As Jesse James, mind you.) But that role pales in comparison to the challenge he’s faced in bringing The Trunchbull to life. Mick says the most significant challenge in the role is conditioning himself to “maintain this absurd voice the entire length of the show.”
Mick reflects on his time in the theater department: “ I started Freshman year very timid and nervous. As a Senior, I can say I am much more confident in myself as a whole. That's a wonderful thing. Theatre has prepared me with the skill of communicating. Nothing is more valuable than articulating issues, formulating solutions, and negotiating to a consensus. The Alma Theatre program teaches how to communicate: a skill that can be effectively applied to nearly every area of life.”
Mick, we can’t wait to experience your masterful morph into The Trunchbull…We’re sure you will make us love to hate her!
7 months ago, Jenna Ogilvie
Cast Spotlight: TALON DEAN
This is Talon’s 2nd time playing a brother named Michael; the first was as Michael Darling in PETER PAN when he was just 9 years old. But during those formative years, Talon was exposed to the Alma Theater program and aspired to one day be involved. And here he is!
Talon’s talent really shined in this summer’s Young Actors Guild production of LIGHTNING THIEF; where he sang and danced his way through the lead role as Percy Jackson. There have been other numerous roles-which means there is a big demand for Talon’s time-he’s currently involved in 4 different productions. Talon says, “Time management is my biggest challenge. But being involved in theater has built my confidence and a very strong work ethic in me. I know people are depending on me so it has motivated me to be a hard worker and to be considerate of others time.”
We are expecting great things from Talon during his tenure at AHS, and beyond. Hopefully, one day we will be in the audience when Mr. Dean fulfills his dream role as Lafayette or Jefferson in HAMILTON! Break a leg, Talon!
7 months ago, Jenna Ogilvie
CAST SPOTLIGHT: Morgan English stars as MATILDA!
Morgan is a triple threat on stage: she acts, sings, and dances, and you will see her do all three in the title role of this season's musical from Airedale Theatre. You may have spotted her as Daphne in last year's production of MmmBeth or in "School Daze" which swept state awards at the 2022 State Thespian Festival. But Morgan says her dream role would be Beauty and the Beast's "Belle"...and having witnessed her talent in action-that would not be a far-fetched dream!
Nevertheless, carrying the title role has its challenges; Morgan says hers has been memorizing all the blocking. But according to Morgan, she has learned from her dance and theatre coaches that hard work pays off-"the final show will always reflect your effort."
We asked Morgan what audiences can expect from this year's musical. She says, "Matilda the Musical is a show full of all the emotions! The audience is sure to laugh, smile, and even cry!"
Alright Morgan, bring on the laughter and tears! We can't wait to see what you bring to this coveted role!