Kate McMillan Video Tribute
Brooke Mayo, SS '12
"I have always been a serious person. In school, I would focus on my grades and I knew that college was right around the corner: I was very goal-orientated and driven. StageStruck reminded me to have fun. This organization reminded me to enjoy my youth and to be the best version of myself that I could be. StageStruck reminded me that it was okay to be a weirdo because we were all weirdos and we were (and still are) one big weirdo family. I couldn't picture a better atmosphere to grow up in."
Rachel Hughes January 11, 2013
Today I will tell you about a place that is familiar and comforting to me. From the outside, it looks fairly run-down and extremely plain. Once you open that heavy, metal door, though, you are greeted by shouting colors and lively faces. A wall of mirrors faces a wall of actors looking at themselves for improvement. A number of miscellaneous and memorable props from shows hang on the concrete walls. One beat-up couch meant for three people, but used for six, lies in the corner by the green room. When you first enter, if you choose to go left, you will be heading towards the costume room. As soon as you enter, you will be overwhelmed with the vast amount of costumes packed into every square inch of the room: wings for a musical gryphon, fluffy winter coats for some certain adventurous siblings, a suit with a plaid, blue tie for a traveling salesman, and many, many more. This place may be cluttered and small, or perhaps stinky and cramped, but this is Stagestruck, and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Elizabeth Pearce Williams (Beth Ervin; StageStruck 1996-1999)
I was hooked on StageStruck when I went on a field trip with St. Mary's to see Annie 25 years ago. Shortly after that, I began my journey with StageStruck in 1996 with the Wizard of Oz. I continued my journey until graduation in 1999 with Guys and Dolls. In between I worked with Bye Bye Birdie, My Fair Lady, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Joseph to name a few. I formed great friendships that I still have today. We used to go to the coffee shop and play cards in the Giddens building for hours. Those were some of my favorite childhood memories even if it was of Mrs. Holly yelling about NO GUM ON STAGE or as Mrs. Stafford wrangled us to and from our backstage positions! Being with StageStruck gave me the confidence I needed to become everything I am today. I learned the importance of being able to speak publicly, I am not afraid to stand up in a crowd and project my voice. I believe all children should get a stage experience as it prepares them for the performance that is adulthood. On stage you learn to control emotions, speak out, entertain, you are not a stranger to criticism, praise, or challenge. I have been inspired by StageStruck to encourage my own children to perform. My daughter Jillian has been performing since she was 2 and has become a beautiful young dancer. My son Chris uses the stage to express his inner comedian. My daughter Kimber, who started with StageStruck over the summer as an 8th grader, just like I was at the start of my journey, has begun her journey in Les Mis and has more confidence and energy than she has ever had in herself. I know her friendships from this will last a lifetime and she will never shy away from challenges. I was also inspired by StageStruck to go into the business of dance and theatre retail so that I can provide our community with the things that they need to continue to provide such wonderful experiences to our children without having to go far away. I wanted to be a part of the performance world in a different way. I did not become a Broadway star or movie queen, but I have used my StageStruck experience to become a very successful scientist, business owner, manager, occasional dancer, performer, and mother. StageStruck gave me what I needed to grow in confidence, and in return I have given them my world. I have encouraged my children to follow in my path by allowing them to join the StageStruck family.
Holly Mason , Director, Les Misérables School Edition
StageStruck has been a part of my life for 25 years. I remember when Liz Griffith asked me to be her assistant for Annie and I thought what an honor to be in on the start of this organization which will promote what I love-live theatre! I have been fortunate to be on the board, direct numerous productions but mostly to have the children and their families of this community called StageStruck in my life. The friendships that develop become lifelong and special. Some of the cast members from shows I have directed have chosen to make theatre their careers as well and it touches my heart to know that StageStruck's mission has been carried on into an even larger venue. To be back in Goldsboro directing a show that is near and dear to my heart is for me a dream come true. Les Miserables has been special since 1992 when I took a group of Wayne Country Day students to it in Raleigh as an introduction to Broadway theatre. My own children knew the entire score soon afterwards and do till this day. It is my honor to have been asked to direct the 25th anniversary show of StageStruck and I could not be more proud of this group talented young people who have dedicated their time for the past two months to rehearse this iconic piece of musical theatre. Also I think sometimes we forget to say a huge thank you to the group of adults both past and present who have supported StageStruck with their talents in all the technical aspects of the production by building, producing, costuming, painting, stage managing, producing, etc.- the number of volunteer hours they put in to make these outstanding productions happen is countless. In conclusion, I hope that StageStruck has another 25 years of educating young people in the art of theatre and I appreciate the opportunity to have made a small contribution to this endeavor. Thanks StageStruck for being a part of my life for 25 years!
Adam Brown, Project Manager, IMPulse NC LLC
I started late with Stage Struck, so I missed a lot of great shows that went on while I was in middle school, but I started my Stage Struck experience with Guys and Dolls (’99). I was cast as Benny Southstreet in that production, and quickly realized that I had no idea what I had actually gotten myself into. I worked with RV as the director, Mark Gourley as the musical director, and some of the most fantastic young talent to ever come out of Stage Struck, like Glenn Smith, Will Smith, Turner Walston, Melissa Wooten, Whit Baldwin, Benton Whitley, Kyle Yamakawa and many many more. Everyone involved in the production was so supportive and welcoming, and even though I only had two years to work with Stage Struck, I used every opportunity. My show experience involved summer productions of The Boyfriend and Oklahoma, and I was cast as FDR for the 10 year anniversary production of Annie, directed by Holly Mason.
"The experiences gained and lessons learned through my (albeit) short time with Stage Struck are still present in my life today. As a project manager with IMPulse NC (located in Mt. Olive, NC), I travel all over the US working with Light Rail systems in large cities. We are a small company in a huge industry, so our entire staff is accustomed to assuming multiple roles within our organization. Stage Struck introduced me not only to speaking in front of large groups of people, but doing so with enthusiasm and passion. This translates really well now as I go to speak to Transit Authority leaders or new customers in the field or at trade shows and transit events. Even smaller understandings, such as taking a step back and seeing how the “big picture” is to be perceived, I can directly attribute to my time with Stage Struck. Between the skills necessary to perform, the hard work that goes into a production, and the collection of minds and thought processes that can take a project to the next level, Stage Struck laid a foundation within me that I honestly believe helped get me to where I am today. For that, I will never be able to thank them enough!
"I now have a beautiful wife and four daughters, who all in their own way have a unique appreciation for the arts. Our girls have seen videos and pictures of “daddy in makeup, dancing on stage” and still refer to Whit Baldwin (still one of my best friends) as Mr. Whit from the TV. My daughters aren’t yet old enough to start with Stage Struck’s productions, but my wife and I have every intention of showing them this opportunity and encouraging them to become a part of this marvelous family in the years to come."
Lindsay Player, Marketing Co-Chair, Musical Empowerment, UNC Chapel Hill, Class of 2018
"Stagestruck has made me so much more comfortable in speaking in front of large audiences and in my classes, which I have found to be extremely useful in everyday situations regardless of the location. It has also allowed me to continue a connection with musical theatre now by creating a constant love for musical theatre. I also found an appreciation (for) constructive criticism and am able to rework through things I am struggling with now because of the dedication I learned through StageStruck. I am thankful for all of the mentors over the years, especially RV who I have always had so much respect for.
"My favorite memories at Stagestruck definitely include being a part of The Music Man (Pick a Little), Beauty and the Beast, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I did many shows, but these hold some of my favorite memories.
"I am a first year (student) at UNC Chapel Hill studying Biology with a minor in Music. I currently teach music through a non-profit organization, Musical Empowerment, at UNC."
Awesome local theater that teaches confidence, self-esteem, and love of music through lessons of acting, singing, dancing and technical theatre!
Stagestruck is perhaps why I now have a career in the arts
Jessica Harrell (Jessica Amon) 1991-2001
I was always really shy, and StageStruck helped me break out of my shell. My first StageStruck production was Peter Pan (‘91), my last Cinderella (‘01). I was in many productions over the years. The people I met and friends I made throughout the years shaped not only my childhood, but my adult life as well. The confidence that I built from being in StageStruck and the skills I learned from performing still resonate with me. I use these skills daily working as a Psychologist, conducting meetings with large groups of people and giving presentations. My six-year old daughter follows my passion for the arts. She dances and has worked with Charlotte Children’s Theater. Thank you StageStruck for granting me so many experiences and life lessons!
Briana Marshall Class of 2012
Even though I was only a part of StageStruck for a year, it has been an amazing experience and left a huge impact on my life. Being a military child and moving frequently every few years, I never really had a place to call home, but StageStruck is definitely home to me. The friends I’ve made throughout the year and still very close to this day, they are all family. Each is very special to me and I will always be there for every one of them no matter what. Love you all!
StageStruck has always reminded me to be true to myself and taught me that no matter who you are or what you love, give it everything you've got. I've always had a passion for being on stage and performing and I think that StageStruck has really made me who I am today as a person and a performer. I have been inspired by StageStruck to leave home and pursue my dream in becoming a performer on stage with Disney. Whether it may be on stage at the parks, on the cruise line, on even on Broadway in a Disney production, it would definitely be a dream come true. Right now, I am a sophomore/junior attending University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, FL, majoring in musical theatre and studio arts. And I recently applied to the Disney College Program and hope to begin this fall.
I would have to say my favorite memories and one thing I truly miss about StageStruck is meeting for rehearsal and being surrounded by loving and accepting people each night. Even though we were all different in our own way, we each had the passion to come together, work hard, and create such a magnificent show for everyone to see. And in the end, all the hard work and fun memories really paid off and every performance was amazing. I remember at the end of my last performance of my senior school, Seussical, after the curtain came down, I fell to my knees and I started to cry. They weren’t just tears of sadness because it was my last show with StageStruck, but they were also tears of joy because I was so proud of everyone putting on such an amazing show, giving it their all, and I was so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful cast. Thank you StageStruck for the wonderful experiences and I am so blessed to be a part of an amazing family.