Berryville students perform in Branson, beyond
Berryville’s gifted and talented (GT) students are living up the program’s name, performing in Branson, Mo., and other venues.
Fifth-grader Sadie Sharp will be performing in the Sight and Sound Theatres’ production of “Samson,” which will run from Saturday, March 3, through Dec. 29, 2018. According to BransonShows.com, the play is about the biblical Samson as he “follows his life calling and fulfills his path of obeying God” and features stunning visuals as he “battles the Philistines, conquers personal demons and even wrestles a lion along the way.”
“The play has one part for a boy kid and one part for a girl kid,” Sharp said. “I split the girl part with two other girls. We take turns and have our own days when we go do the show. It’s whatever works better for us, so I’ll do the Saturday shows or something like that.”
She said she learned about the play through GT coordinator Larissa Allen.
“Ms. Allen saw that they were going to have auditions, and we sent in an application,” Sharp said. “They asked me if I would come audition, and I got past the director’s cut and met with human resources. About a month later, we found out that I got the part.”
Although Sharp auditioned for one part, she said she plays several different characters in the play.
“I’m a Philistine girl, a Hebrew girl, a street urchin, a funeral guest and a wedding guest,” she said. “I have to switch costumes and wigs about four times. My shortest time I have to switch over is probably two scenes, but I already have my wig cap and everything on. We have quick changing stations, so I can make the switch fast.”
Sharp said she really enjoys being part of the production.
“I really like that I get to meet new people,” she said, “and I like that it’s out of the Bible and is going to teach more people about Jesus and God.”
She said she hopes to continue performing in plays.
“I want to sing and dance when I grow up,” Sharp said.
Allen said Sharp isn’t the only GT student performing in Branson. She said siblings Eden and Gavin Wilson rehearse basically five nights a week at Dance Branson School of the Arts.
Eden said she has been dancing for about nine years, and Gavin said he has been dancing for about six or seven years.
“We’ve been in theater since we were very little,” Gavin said.
Eden said their mom, Bekah Wilson, initially thought it would be cute for her kids to learn to dance.
“I just loved dancing,” Eden said. “It’s a passion of mine. It’s a way to express myself.”
“I joined because she joined,” Gavin said. “I did an improv class, and after that I started participating a lot more. Theater is my thing. I enjoy that more.”
They said performing arts run in the family. Their mother, Bekah, taught at Elite Dance Studio in Berryville and volunteers as a co-director at the Lyric Theater in Harrison.
“I’m on the arts council,” Bekah said. “Eden and Gavin learned that in order to do better at theater they needed to stick with dance.”
Eden said she and Gavin are currently performing at dance competitions throughout the area, including Branson, Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla.
They won first place and had the high score for Teen Duet at the Jump Dance Competition, the largest touring dance competition in the world, in Kansas City in January. They also won first place and outstanding stage presence for Teen Duet at the Force Dance Tour in Branson.
Eden said she and Gavin and the other students from Dance Branson would be competing at DanceMakers Dance Convention in Branson this past weekend.
“We’re competing in the Teen Duet division, and we’re doing group dances in the lyrical and production divisions with our studio group,” Eden said.
Gavin said he and Eden have been using the song “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” from “The Book of Mormon” for the Teen Duet division at competitions.
They said they’re both interested in pursuing careers in the performing arts after graduation.
“I want to have a career in the arts and get a professional theater job,” Eden said. “My biggest goal is Broadway.”
To nurture students’ interest in the arts, Allen said Berryville’s GT program takes students to see both local productions and larger productions on overnight trips.
“We’re going to New York for GT this semester, and we’ll be seeing ‘Wicked’ on Broadway,” Gavin said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Eden said they would also be seeing “The Sound of Music” in Tulsa.
“Sadie will also get to see ‘Sound of Music’ at the Walton Arts Center,” Allen said. “We try to provide that exposure and get a little of the performing arts in GT because we don’t have a lot of that in this area.”
She said she is proud to see Berryville’s GT students sharing their talents both in and around the state.