Duet for the Show- Leads in musical hit stage for first time
By Kayla Kurmaskie
On opening night of “Annie Get Your Gun,” the dressing rooms were a flurry with excitement. Voices buzzed, music blared and actors applied the stacks of makeup necessary for the stage. Among the commotion of backstage, freshman and female lead of the musical Emma Krajicek went through the motions of mentally preparing herself for her first stage performance in high school.
“You better know your lines or Stanley will scream at you. Emma don’t screw this up. Don’t mess up the names. Don’t laugh when I’m not supposed to,” said Krajicek to herself.
Just across the room senior and male lead Baylor Rowlett made similar mental preparations for his first performance in front of a live audience.
“It wasn’t as much nervousness as it was ‘it’s finally here.’ You finally get to do it for people and not blank audience that you’ve been practicing for,” Rowlett said.
When the curtain finally rose and the show began, the true excitement that accompanies theatre became apparent to the newcomers.
“I kept telling people backstage: you didn’t tell me it was this fun. You made it seem like it was the most stressful thing in the world,” Rowlett said.
The green performers started their journey to the performance over two months ago at the school wide auditions for the musical Wild West adventure.
Despite the performers’ age and inexperience, director Gregory Stanley and musical director had complete confidence in their casting decisions.
“Emma started as a really confident vocal performer; Baylor has a natural likability and charm,” Stanley said. “So Baylor’s journey from my perspective was gaining confidence as a singer and Emma grew more confident in her acting.”
“At first I could tell everyone was wary about [me being cast] and a little scared,” Krajicek said.
Baylor described feeling equally as intimidated by his more seasoned peers.
“I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me because here are all these theatre kids that have been doing this for three or four years, if not more, and then I’m just fresh bait,” Rowlett said.
Despite some social awkwardness at first, both performers said the cast welcomed them readily into the “theatre family.” Krajicek and Rowlett both described needing this peer support when struggling to overcome the challenges that come with inexperience.
“Trying to be this big character [was the most challenging part of the process] because I’m kind of meek and small when you first get to know me,” Krajicek said. “I had to rise up to this huge character.”
Rowlett’s involvement with baseball also helped him deal with the stress of carrying a show.
“The theatre is more family close than competitive close, but it’s just like baseball,” Rowlett said. “You have to take criticism, do good from it, not crash from it.”
By the final curtain, Krajicek said she truly felt the personal growth that came with the role.
“I feel like now that I have something to go off of that will always give me hope that I can do this in life,” Krajicek said. ●