Three Heritage students celebrated Christmas nearly one month early this year by performing in the Broward Center’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Senior Emily Myers, sophomore Kelly Taylor and freshman Mikaila Barsoum wowed audiences in a series of nine shows put on Nov. 30 – Dec. 2.
The show was put on through a Broward Center educational theater program and company titled the Performance Project, which allows children and teens in the community to act in professional shows alongside adults. As there were two casts in this production of “A Christmas Carol” (one cast performing five times and the other four), both Myers and Taylor played the role of Belle, Ebenezer Scrooge’s fiancée in the Ghost of Christmas Past scenes, and Barsoum played the Funerary Undertaker and sang in the chorus. As Belle, Myers and Taylor also sang an impressive solo piece.
“My favorite part was probably the fact that I got a solo,” Myers said. She has acted in two previous Broward Center productions of “A Christmas Carol,” and had a smaller role both times. “Belle wears this beautiful bright red dress, and she is quite literally the ‘Belle of the Ball’ in the Christmas Past scenes. I remember saying ‘I want to wear that pretty red dress one day.’ Now, I finally got to wear the Belle dress and sing her beautiful song.”
“I absolutely loved playing Belle because she has a very pretty, yet vocally challenging, solo, and I feel I have grown in my vocal abilities and even developed my range as a singer,” Taylor said. “The role also demanded that I cry on stage, which forced me to really delve into the character. Since we were working with adults, there were not many opportunities for teens to have roles outside of the chorus, so I was really surprised that I got the role.”
Taylor, aside from playing Belle, also performed in the chorus with Barsoum, giving her the chance to portray some other characters as well.
“I made my characters very distinctive from one another,” Taylor said. “In one song I played a grumpy old spirit coming to haunt Ebenezer, and then within the span of a scene, I transformed into an elegant Victorian partygoer in a giant red hoop skirt. It’s really cool to be able to create characters in my mind based on research, stage direction and, of course, my own imagination.”
Working on “A Christmas Carol” put these aspiring performers in a unique position under the mentorship and guidance of the adults in the show.
“Everyone knows each other, and the adults in the shows help us and mentor us. They have experience in the theater world that we don’t have yet, and it’s an honor to work beside them,” Myers said of the experience. “I love how close everyone became,” Barsoum added.
While Myers doesn’t participate in the performing arts at Heritage, dedicating her time to WAHS News, she still loves the theater stage and has acted in more than 10 Broward Center productions throughout her time there. “Theater is a way for me to express myself,” Myers said. “When I am on stage, I can become someone else entirely who doesn’t care about embarrassing herself or looking stupid. I act and sing with all my heart and soul and it is truly amazing – there is just no other feeling like it.”
Taylor, however, is heavily involved in the Heritage fine arts department: she’s a Cappie critic and a member of the thespian troupe and is currently working her way through the many levels of acting classes. She also plans to take chorus next year. Even in just her sophomore year of high school, Taylor sees acting in her adult future.
“It’s a hard decision because it’s such an unstable career, but I do plan on majoring in the performing arts in college,” Taylor said. “Theater, particularly musical theater, means absolutely everything to me. I just can’t imagine my life without it.”
In the spring, keep an eye out for tickets to the Broward Center production of “Rent” – Myers, Taylor and Barsoum will all be auditioning.