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The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

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Olathe West Theatre Returns to the Annual Kansas Thespian Festival

Photo courtesy of Lexi Heideman
Olathe West theater students take a bus together for the drive to Wichita for the Kansas Thespian Festival.

A group of Olathe West theater students attended the annual Kansas Thespian Festival, or KTF, held January 4-6 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita and Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center.

The Kansas Thespian Festival is a three-day event held for students to attend workshops, audition for things such as scholarships for college, perform different productions and participate in a number of different activities. At KTF, there are usually different theater teachers and Broadway choreographers.

“It’s [KTF] a chance for kids who do theater to take it a step further and they can do a Thespy and they can sing or act or dance or do tech Thespys too,” senior Genevieve Anderon said. “You can submit your design for sets or props or hair and makeup and much more… and you can get it scored and judged and it’s a chance for theatrical things to be judged like sports. It’s like a sporting event for theater kids.”

A performing arts Thespy is an individual event. Students who do Thespys prepare something in a category of their choosing, like a sound design or solo acting, and present it to a group of judges.

Some select students traveled to Wichita a day early and took part in the district-wide musical “Frozen.” The district musical gave senior Isys Haynes a ticket to the National Qualifiers for stage management.

The Olathe West theater group represented the school by earning third place in their one-act show “The Love for Three Oranges,” second place for the tech challenge, two perfect scores by Ella Stewart for makeup design in “The Love for Three Oranges” and by senior Aidan Davis, senior Evan McCoy and junior Aaron Shirley for their group musical performance of ‘High Adventure’ from “Aladdin the Musical.”

McCoy, one of the three who performed “High Adventure” spoke about how he found out he had received the perfect score from the judges.

“When I got the perfect score I was actually in one of the dance workshops and we had a water break,” McCoy said. “One of my friends from “Frozen” came running up to me and said, ‘Evan, Evan, Evan you got a perfect score, you made the showcase,’ and I was a little stunned at first, but then it sank in like 10 seconds and then I ran over to tell Aidan the same thing and then he started freaking out and then we both couldn’t focus for the rest of the workshop…”

Scoring at KTF is based on several different components that make up a stage production by the actors.

“It’s [scoring] off of characterization, there’s vocal technique, there’s execution as well,” Mccoy said. “So like are the dance moves executed cleanly and consistently, does it just look well put together overall it’s just all the visuals you can imagine when you’re watching a musical or a play.”

Along with these awards, two Olathe West students also earned scholarships for their work. Seniors Ella Stewart and Genevieve Anderson both were awarded scholarships at KTF. Stewart received the Technical Theatre Thespian Scholarship and Anderson received the Performance Thespian Scholarship.

Anderson shared her experience with the auditioning process and how she earned the scholarship money at KTF.

“The way that I got it [the scholarship] was I auditioned in front of a bunch of college people,” Anderson said. “I sang a song and I did a monologue… and then I think the way I use it [the scholarship] is for college. When I go into whatever I do, I think it applies to not only performing majors, it’s also for anything else. It was like a $1,000 scholarship, so it’s a little, but it goes a long way.”

Anderson also got to perform as Elsa in the “Frozen” district musical during the KTF weekend.

“I love performing so much and getting to perform in front of all my peers was rewarding,” Anderson said.

At the end of the KTF weekend, there is a grand show called the Thespy Showcase. This show is a combination of all of the highest-scoring performances by the actors and “High Adventure” was one of the Thespys chosen to perform.

“Just to put that in perspective there’s 506 Thespys that were performed at KTF, only 10 of them got selected for the Thespy Showcase,” McCoy said. “My favorite part I would say the Thespy Showcase. That was really fun because we were the grand finale as well for the Thespy Showcase so just the very end seeing everyone stand up, giving you a standing ovation and cheers and scream and everything is awesome.”

The next stop for many of the theater students is the International Thespian Festival later on in the year.

“I’m excited to go to the international level in June,” McCoy said. “That will be in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University.”

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About the Contributor
Bryce Mallory
Bryce Mallory, Editor-in-Chief
This is senior Bryce Mallory’s second year on the Owl Post staff. This year, she is excited to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief, in addition to being a writer for the newspaper. Bryce is involved in the National Honors Society, Quill & Scroll and orchestra. Outside of school, Bryce loves to read books, watch romcoms, and go to dinner with her friends. She is looking forward to new print papers and loves having a community of friends to work with every day in the newspaper room. 

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