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Posted: 01/16/13

TOP THESPIANS. Above, from left, Romeo High School seniors Grant Hale, Caitlyn Pichette and Stevie Kelly were named three of the top 10 thespian students in Michigan during the Michigan Thespian Festival held in late 2012. A total of 46 Romeo students competed at the event, earning 12 "superior" rankings and 17 "excellent" rankings in various categories.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

RHS seniors named top
thespians in the state

Observer Staff Writer
      Thirty percent of the best student thespians in the state call Romeo their home.
       Results from the 2012 Michigan Thespian Festival, held at Saginaw Valley State University Nov. 30 - Dec. 1, named Romeo High School seniors three of the 10 top thespians in the state.
       Additionally, 43 other Romeo students competed at the event, earning a total of 12 "superior" rankings and 17 "excellent" rankings in various categories.
       Seniors Grant Hale, Stevie Kelly and Caitlyn Pichette were each named a top student in the state. Hale and Kelly won for their performance auditions, while Pichette was chosen for the service category.
       Kendra Walls, theater instructor, said she went from thrilled to crying when three of her students were chosen as the best.
       "I'll be honest, I felt like a proud parent," she said. "It was so nice for all three to share the moment together rather than one having to put on a smile for the others."
       Hale and Kelly had seven-minute auditions for the state competition. Each student that tries out participates in what area of theater they want to be in, and in this case, both auditioned in musical theater.
       Hale sang a song from "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and Kelly performed a song from "Chicago."
       Pichette had an interview where she had to demonstrate various service and leadership roles she has held, such as in National Honor Society or Student Council.
       For earning a top spot, each student received a $500 scholarship that can be used toward any college.
       "It's such a good recognition for our theater company too, because it rarely ever happens that more than one student is picked," Hale said.
       In addition to their state rankings, the three students took part in the festival's competitions and earned scholarships. The top rankings are "superior" and "excellent."
       Hale earned a superior in solo musical while Pichette earned an excellent in the same category. Pichette sang a song from "Ghost the Musical," which she also sang during a closing festival performance.
       Both Hale and Kelly earned superior ratings in monologue, while Kelly and Pichette earned an excellent in group musical.
       Hale and Kelly earned $16,000 to Siena Heights University, while Kelly earned $10,000 to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Pichette was awarded $32,500 to Rochester College. Senior Nicole Mullaly earned $56,000 to Rochester College, having competed in duet musical theater.
       The students noted other schools have been in contact with them after the festival.
       "I've also been getting letters in the mail from other colleges," Pichette said.
       Hale and Kelly expressed an interest in studying musical theater upon graduating, and Pichette said she wants to major in nursing and minor in musical theater.
       Aside from competing, students and directors could attend workshops and rub elbows with professionals in the business, all while surrounded by students from other schools that love theater.
       "Many new ideas from college staff and other schools will be incorporated into our program," Walls said.
       Among the workshops and competitions, schools are asked to perform their shows during the festival. Romeo was asked to be the opening act this year, and showcased its production of "The Curious Savage."
       "That was so exciting," Kelly said. "The energy level was just so different there because everyone's there to support the art and appreciate it."
       Walls called the festival a great experience, saying it's nice to see the students take pride in their work.
       "Our students are proud to say they are part of the Romeo Theatre Company, which is really nice as a the director to hear," Walls said.

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Retrieved 8/3/2015 at 3:10:06 PM.
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