BV middle schooler selected for ‘Hamilton Experience’

Friday, May 17, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb

Berryville Middle School student Sadie Sharp is one of 30 gifted and talented (GT) students selected statewide to participate in “MT Stage: The Hamilton Experience” at the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

“‘Hamilton is still the hottest ticket on Broadway,” said Dr. Christine Deitz, associate director of the Jodie Mahoney Center. “It has contemporary themes that children can identify with. It has all the elements of a great performance and a message of compassion and perseverance with an overarching emphasis on citizenship.”

Sharp said she was thrilled to be selected for the program.

“[GT coordinator] Larissa Allen sent my mom the application, and my mom filled it out and sent it in,” she said. “I was very excited because ‘Hamilton’ is one of my favorite musicals and I am going to watch it in July.”

“We both agreed she was the prime candidate for this program,” said GT teacher Delene McCoy.

The Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education has applied for and received an Academic Enrichment of the Gifted and Talented in the Summer (AEGIS) grant from the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).

According to a press release, participants will explore the historical, societal and cultural themes behind “Hamilton” and will choose a focus area of musical theater: stagecraft or performance. In stagecraft, it says, students will learn the technical aspects of a show from start to finish – including lighting, sound and set construction. Students in the performance track will work with a musical director and choreographer, the release says. In the final showcase, students will perform selected scenes from “Hamilton” and have a talk-back session with audience members about their program experience.

Sharp said she plans to go into performance at the program.

“I want to be on stage acting,” she said. “I want to be one of the Schuyler sisters, which who doesn’t?”

“She’s got what it takes,” McCoy said. “I believe she’ll be there.”

The program will be from June 17 through June 21. McCoy said there will be a Student Showcase at 2 p.m. Friday, June 21, in the University Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts at UALR. The event is free and open to the public.

“I’m excited about getting to go and getting more acting experience,” Sharp said. “I’m looking forward to making new friends, too. The theater is kind of my place, so that’s very exciting.”

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