Musical memories

Senior reflects on time spent in theater company

Story by Stephanie Jumper, Editor-in-Chief

The image of the stage she sits on shifts into a blur as her eyelids slowly open and close in an attempt to maintain consciousness. Trembling fingers lift herself up as rehearsal comes to a close and she is greeted by the endlessly black night outside of the performing arts center. She’s mentally and physically exhausted, but she doesn’t regret a moment of these yawn-filled nights. Each moment of practicing in the spotlight is only preparation for her to wow a full house of audience members once again.

Senior Maddie Frost is a third-year member of Tiger Theatre Company who specializes in musical theater. Despite her roles in TTC, choir was Frost’s first passion.

“My director said I might like musical theater because I’m in choir, so I started there, and I fell in love with it,” Frost said. “I was able to perform in a different way [and] body a different character. I’m able to be myself.”

Following her first Tiger Theatre Company production, “Peter Pan,” Frost branched out into other kinds of theater. In November 2020, the warm lights of the Sullivan Performing Arts Center stage bathed her once again in “Puffs,” her first non-musical in high school.

“It was just so high energy,” Frost said. “You never get to sit down. There were so many props and tech elements I got to watch create its life. I was still new to theater, so seeing all the different things come together, like props, tech, lights, in such a beautiful way was really fun to be a part of.”

Since “Puffs,” Frost has also brought plays to the stage in a technical capacity, acting as a makeup crew chief in addition to her acting responsibilities. Her past few productions have shown Frost how many people are needed to create a quality show.

“It takes everybody to make a good show, down to ensemble all the way up into tech into leads,” Frost said. “I’ve had parts in all different sizes, from leads to ensemble to even here and there. I’ve learned that every single part of theater is very important.”

This year, Frost also gained an appreciation for her cast’s youngest members. In “Annie,” Frost played Miss Hannigan, the owner of the orphanage much of the play takes place in. Her role required acting alongside children, the youngest of which was four years old.

“I first met them and took a big sigh,” Frost said. “I was like, ‘This is gonna be a long show,’ but I created so many friends with them. They brought so much energy to the show. Even when I didn’t have energy, you just make up some sort of energy, so you can match theirs. It was a cool experience having to wrangle them all the time.”

Frost spent much of “Annie” acting as a middle-aged woman exhausted from her job of looking after orphaned children in New York City. Much of this frustration culminated in Hannigan’s solo song “Little Girls,” which Frost had much creative liberty with.

“During my solo, my directions were ‘Make the best of it, and make it yours,’ so I did,” Frost said. “Every show was different. I would do little things here and there, add some innuendos and just make it fun. Each show had a different element that kept it interesting not only to me but for the audience as well.”

The musicals Frost has been a part of, such as “Annie” and “Peter Pan,” have opened her eyes as to how many genres of music Frost can perform.

“I’ve found myself through music and through theater,” Frost said. “I’ve learned I love a lot of music, not just choral. I love musical theater and learning a bunch of different types of music and how it’s different to sing them. Different styles have been cool to expand my range.”

Frost has earned a long list of achievements during her time in theater, such as Best Performer at a UIL One Act Play competition and acting as Troupe 2526’s International Thespian Honor Society President. Her theatrical involvement will not end for Frost once she receives her high school diploma. She will major in vocal performance in college with intentions of a career in opera. Even if Frost never acts professionally, she may remain active in community theater, paying her time to the art that taught her lessons applicable to the stage and beyond.

“I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills, especially with being president of ITS,” Frost said. “It’s sort of all or nothing if you want to get into [theater]. You have to be loyal to the company. That includes putting a lot of time and effort in what you do, not only for you but for your classmates as well.”