SHOWTIME

15min

Sophomore Jessamyn Anderson takes as many choir and drama classes as she can in hopes of making it to the Broadway stage

By Cassie Dugan
<[email protected]>

What attracted you to the whole choir/musical scene in the first place?
I’ve been doing choir my whole life. My parents said I could sing before I could talk; music has just been a really big part of my life, even since I was born.

Was there a certain person that attracted you to this or did you pick it up on your own?
My sister does music, and she is actually majoring in voice in college. My parents both are musical, and so I think it’s just kind of been a family thing. Both sides of my family are into music, and music is just a big part of everyone’s life. So I think it was just kind of a family thing that pulled me towards that.

Do you just do musicals or other things too?
I do plays and theater too, I (was) in the Studio One Acts (as of September). I like musical theater more though because I feel like there is more than you can do when you have songs. But I love both theater and musical theater because just being on a stage and performing in front of people is what I really love to do.

What other musicals or productions have you been a part of?
Sixth grade was the first major musical I did and then eighth grade was the second musical, and those are the two major musicals I’ve been a part of. But currently (as of September) I (was) in the Studio One Acts, and I really enjoyed that. I have a lot of fun getting to know the cast and anything to do with choir, I’ve probably been a part of.

How does practice affect your homework time and your academics?
This year I’ve had to really work on my time management skills, and I’ve figured out how I study by having to work on that. So being able to know how I study is really helping me, but I don’t think it’s had a negative effect on my grades or anything because I work really hard. Overall, no it hasn’t really affected me very much, it has just help me learn a lot about time management.

Walk me through a normal day of yours.
I stay after school, and I walk to the library and then I have to come back to the school around 5 p.m. to get hair and makeup done, and rehearsals start at 6 or 6:30 p.m., and I’m at school until 9. I get my homework done at the library and if I have extra studying to do, I’ll do that when I get home, and I eat dinner at school. I’m normally in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m.

Do you have a plan set up for how you want to pursue musical theater?
I’m still working on that. I’m doing everything I can right now by taking voice and dance classes. I try and get involved in drama and music at school. In terms of college, I don’t really know where I want to go; I just know that I want to study voice, not musical theater. I want to focus my talent in one area and really really strengthen that area and use that to my advantage. I don’t really want to get a musical theater degree; I just really want to get a vocal degree hopefully from a conservatory or smaller, private school. I don’t want to go to a huge school like IU or NYU or something like that. I would love to go to a musical conservatory – that would be my ultimate goal. After college I would hopefully get an agent, move to New York, try to get some auditions booked there and get myself onto a Broadway stage.

Have your family and friends supported you?
My family and friends are the best support system I have. My parents always support me in whatever I want to do because I know that they believe in me, and that’s enough to get me through it. My sister is kind of like who I look to because she is going down a music route, and I would love to, too. I mean walking in her footsteps is not a bad thing; it’s a really really good thing because she’s left such a great path for me to follow. Just thinking of how many events they all come to like talent shows, Carmel Idol, plays, performances and Holiday Spectacular. They come to everything and that alone shows that they support me, so I think whatever I choose to do. They will always be there for me.

Do you have a favorite Broadway star?
Okay I have two. They are Bernadette Peters and Ethyl Merman. And it’s really funny why I like them. I just love the musicals they’ve been in and they’re just amazing people. Also, I’m not a dancer, and neither are they. They prove that to be on Broadway you don’t have to be the best dancer to ever hit a stage, and that’s kind of like an inspiration for me.

What is your favorite Broadway play?
I hate this question! But I really love “Annie Get Your Gun” and probably “Into the Woods.” It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite because I listen to so many musical soundtracks. Oh, and I love “Little Women.” So “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Little Women” and “Into the Woods” are my favorites. I honestly can’t pick just one.

How do you see your high school career playing out with your musical electives?
I want to take applied music as a junior. I’ll continue to take choir; right now I’m in Accents, and I’m having an absolute blast with that. I’m in drama, and then next year I hope to continue drama and choir. I want to take music theory which will really help with reading music and understanding how music works. I really want to take a piano class if I have the time slot to take that.

Do you have any specific goals for the future, such as are there any specific musicals you want to be in?
If I could play any role in a musical it would be Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Other than that I’m kind of just here for the ride. Any opportunity thrown at me I would take. If someone handed me an audition slip I would go no matter what it was because when someone hands you that chance you have to take a chance that huge so I’m just kind of going for whatever is thrown at me.

What is your favorite part of musicals?
(My favorite part is) the actual performances. Being in front of the crowd and knowing that they’re there to watch you – it’s just such an exhilarating feeling. Being on that stage and having every eye on you – that makes some people nervous – but that’s how I get my thrill in life. When I’m up there I get nervous and stuff but it’s not that “I’m gonna throw up I can’t do this” feeling, it’s the “Oh my gosh they’re here for me so I better impress them” kind of feeling. Getting applause, being on a stage and having people want to watch you is the most amazing feeling.

Congratulations on making Accents your sophomore year. How do you feel about that?
It’s kind of shocking actually. I know when I got my choir letter I was kind of freaking out a little bit…okay, no actually a lot. I couldn’t stop screaming for like ten minutes. I was very shocked. I don’t feel any different from anyone else in the choir because as a choir we are a group, and it’s good being a part of a group that amazing. I know the first day we had class we started singing and I was sitting here listening like “Oh my gosh, these people are amazing. I’m in a group with these people; I’m with these people, and I’m with them on a scale.” Being with that level of talent with a group of girls I’ve never even met before, and I’m just sitting there in awe of the people in my choir because so many of them have so many talents. To know that I’m with them in that group is a great honor. It is a privilege to work with such big musical talent.

You said you want to study voice in college. What does that entail?
Voice is usually more of a classical route, and I’m working on a lot more classical stuff this year in my voice lessons. My sister studied opera since the ninth grade. My voice teacher is a little more based on Broadway and she does classical training. Voice – that’s just what I love. If I had to pick between any kind of performing like singing, acting, dancing, etc., I would pick singing because that is my passion. I know voice focuses on that one thing which is singing and improving vocal skills and that’s what my goal is.

HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCES

  • Dec. 3 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 4 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 5 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 6 – 2:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 7 – 2:00 p.m.
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