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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

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Texas High today, Broadway tomorrow

Junior reflects on future opportunities with theater
Junior+Justin+Gentry+emerges+from+a+hidden+passage+in+Texas+Highs+production+of+Murder+on+the+Orient+Express.+Gentry+has+acted+in+many+of+Texas+highs+productions+throughout+his+high+school+career.+%28submitted+photo%29
Junior Justin Gentry emerges from a hidden passage in Texas High’s production of “Murder on the Orient Express.” Gentry has acted in many of Texas high’s productions throughout his high school career. (submitted photo)

The lights go down. The auditorium falls quiet. When the spotlight turns on, junior Justin Gentry’s face appears as he takes the stage for yet another production. 

Gentry fell in love with theatre when he was in the sixth grade. The feeling of being with his friends, getting the opportunity to shine in front of a crowd and being provided with a daily opportunity to discover the content of his character is something that he finds comfort in.

“When I first started participating in theater I was in sixth grade at Texas Middle School,” Gentry said. “I really liked it and decided to continue because I get to express myself through different characters who have different emotions and different backgrounds.”

Since Gentry has played multiple lead, supporting, ensemble and tech roles, it’s safe to say that he is extremely well-versed in all aspects of the performing arts. In his future, he wants to become a theater director, a professional actor and a physician.

“I definitely have the drive to make it far in the theater industry, and although I still have to grow tougher skin, I think I got it,” Gentry said. “I also am learning that people are going to say no to me and that’s okay because everyday is a new opportunity for me to grow.”

Gentry made the decision to further expand his expertise in the performing arts and joined the technical crew this year.

This school year he took on the role of head costumer for “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Our Town”, and he is currently fulfilling the position of prop master for the district UIL One Act Play Performance, “Rabbit Hole”.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the technical side of theater,” Gentry said. “[Tech theater] gives me a good look of what theater is and what all goes into it.”

Although Gentry has been a member of the Tiger Theatre Company for the past six years, he recently discovered an additional theater company in our area to participate in when he has free time: The Silvermoon Children’s Theatre.

“I heard about Silvermoon through my friend Kateleigh who has done shows there in years past,” Gentry said. “I decided to audition because it was something different and I want to get to know Texarkana and all of the opportunities it brings for kids in theater.”

Since hearing about Silvermoon Children’s Theatre, Justin has landed himself two roles in productions within the company so far.

I definitely have the drive to make it far in the theater industry, and although I still have to grow tougher skin, I think I got it.

— Justin Gentry

“I am currently working on the role of Sam in the play ‘Holes’,” Gentry said. “After ‘Holes’ is over we will immediately start ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ rehearsals.”

Naturally, Gentry enjoys being a part of plays; however, musicals are where he feels the happiest. 

Up until this school year, Gentry was a member of the Tiger Band. Through this experience, he got the opportunity to learn all of the grounds on musicality and note-reading and believes that his experience in the school band is translating into his knowledge of musical theatre.

I feel like being in band for so long really helped me with being able to stay in tune with my castmates,” Gentry said. “I also think it has helped me to stay in time when we do dances.”

Taking on three separate productions at the same time is no problem for him. Although he may get a bit overwhelmed with his schoolwork at times, he knows deep down that all of the nights he spends at the theater are well worth it. 

“In order to lower my stress levels I try to dedicate an hour of my time to myself every day,” Gentry said. “Something that helps keep me calm and stress free is doing some art. I like painting which kind of helps me relax and stay as stress free as possible.”

It’s safe to say that Gentry is training to be what the theater industry calls a “triple threat”. With the help and wisdom of his peers, family, directors and teachers, Gentry knows that he acquires all of the skills necessary to make a name for himself in the theater world.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without my mom and former director, Mrs. Bonnie Flieder. Both of them have been so nice and supportive,” Gentry said. “My mom took me to every rehearsal from middle school to high school, and Mrs. Flieder introduced me to theater and taught me everything that I know.”

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About the Contributor
Kateleigh Crowson
Kateleigh Crowson, Staff Writer
Kateleigh Crowson is a first-year staff member of THS Publications. She is an active member of STUCO, Leader in Me and the Tiger Theatre Company where she serves as the Advocacy Officer. For fun, she enjoys dancing, reading, watching dance moms and facetiming friends. A fun fact about Crowson is that she is left handed. In the future, she plans to become a CPA because she loves math.

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