The Show Must Go On

Name one person/place that has made an impact on your life.

The theatre at Holy Name High School has had a huge impact on me. I have been performing there for over 9 years – more than half of my life. I also have been through several ordeals that have made me a stronger person and taught me valuable lessons that I will carry forever. I have performed over 32 shows on that stage with varying roles, but all under the direction of theh same man, Mr. Richard Booth. Mr. Booth runs a children’s summer theatre camp in the auditorium of the Holy Name High School, where he teaches. I remember going inside the theatre feeling in awe. As I looked up, I saw what seemed to be an endless amount of rows filled with chairs. Each one felt so comfortable and they were a rich shade of red. As I looked up at the stage, I was speechless. It was the largest stage I had ever seen. The lush curtains gently graced the stage. I felt welcomed right off the bat. Over the years, I helped out more and more with each show, especially once I became a freshman at Holy Name. Mr. Booth knew my name from several years earlier and I was friends with the upperclassmen, which made my fellow freshman look up to me. I tried to help out as much and as often as I could. I ran for many positions in the Theatre Guild, our school’s drama club, and auditioned for as many shows as I possibly could. One of my dreams as a freshman was to get a lead in the spring musical. Auditions for the spring musical are held before Christmas break and the show is never revealed until after auditions have been held, meaning we audition without knowing what the musical is. Mr. Booth always chooses three shows the week of auditions and tells the students to vote on the show we want. It is tradition that on the last day of school, we have a pep rally. At this pep rally, Mr. Booth announces the play and the cast in front of the entire school. The students cast then make their way eagerly in front of the entire school to receive a script. My junior year was the most nerve-racking pep rally for several reasons. One of my all time favorite shows is Hello, Dolly!, mainly because I love the role of Dolly Levi, the main character. Throughout the first few months of school, I kept dropping hints to Mr. Booth that Hello, Dolly! would be a great choice for the spring musical. When the three choices were announced, my heart leaped because Hello, Dolly! was one of the choices! I tried to convince everyone to vote for Hello, Dolly! by saying that it was the best choice for our musical. I believed that this was fate. Hello, Dolly! was going to be the spring musical and that I would be Dolly Levi because there was no one else to play the part. After the auditions I was nervous, but I couldn’t wait for the show and the parts to be announced. I even made up the cast in my head I was hoping for Hello, Dolly! so much. Mr. Booth did the usual and delayed announcing the show to put us all in suspense. After waiting as long as he could, he announced that the spring show would be Hello, Dolly!! I could not believe it. He then announced the cast starting with the minor to leads, meaning that Dolly Levi would be called last. So far his casting was somewhat matching up to mine. I was wiggling around in my chair grabbing my friend’s hand to calm me down. He finally got to the role of Dolly Levi and I realized, this is it. It was at that point that it hit me, I didn’t get Dolly Levi. It wouldn’t make sense if I got it because I’m taller than the man playing Horace Vandergelder, the love interest of Dolly Levi. I could not believe it. When Mr. Booth announced the role of Dolly, I found out I was correct. My friend Rachel got the role of Dolly Levi, someone who, in my mind, I cast in another part. I found myself in tears and I tried to escape to the bathroom unnoticed, all while trying to understand why this had happened, and more specifically, why I thought I would automatically get the lead. I had never been a person who assumed that their getting the lead in every show. After some time I accepted the fact that I did not get the role I wanted and I began to work constantly on the show to make it the best. I thought I was fine with getting ensemble, or more specifically not getting Dolly Levi. But when the show came on, there she was, up on stage again, and here I was, in the wings. All my friends kept trying to distract me, but it was no use. I just did not know what I was thinking. Sure, I may have had a chance, but to think I was the only one who could play Dolly? Ridiculous. Even so, I felt sad knowing that, despite working on the set every single Saturday, it was not going to be me up there taking that last bow. The set would look amazing, but I would not the one to be walk down those steps with the lights flickering and me in the spotlight. As time passed and the show ended, it just became a blur to me. Even now when I think about it, I get embarrassed and sometimes even burst out laughing. Hello, Dolly! definitely taught me that things do not turn out as you hope, but you have to roll with the punches and embrace each moment. As my senior year approached, I had to decide if I truly wanted to make a career out of acting. After much decision I finally decided that theatre was what I wanted to do. I do not think I would be happy if I chose a different career. As usual, I was cast in the fall play and worked on costumes, the set, and at the box office. If there was something that needed to be done, I did it. I refused to let this year be mediocre when it could be extraordinary. When time for the spring musical came closer, I was unsure of how to react. After learning my lesson my junior year, I chose to embrace the musical and cast list whatever happened. I knew my song and my skit for the audition. Surprisingly, I found that when the choices for the shows were ones that didn’t matter to me, I was able to focus more on the audition. When it came to the audition itself, I just did my best. Then all I had to do was wait for the pep rally. As it grew closer and closer to the pep rally, I finally realized: this was it. My last chance to get a part in the spring musical had finally come. I became anxious and wanted the pep rally to start immediately. Mr. Booth did his usual delaying by announcing the show, which turned out to be State Fair, a show that revolves around the Frake family in the late 1940s going to a state fair in Iowa. He announced each part and I got more nervous each time a part got called. My friends were each getting parts, but I was filled with a deep feeling of dread. My friends kept trying to lift my spirits, but nothing could make me feel better. Finally, Mr. Booth got to the leads, the Frake family. I was mortified and could not breathe. He finally only had one character left to announce, Mrs. Melissa Frake, the mother. I held my breath and all of my friends and I grabbed hands. As Mr. Booth announced the name I saw him look straight at me: Even though I was in the bleachers, he had a smile from ear to ear and took a deep breath. Then he announces “ the part of Mrs. Melissa Frake will be played by…” and the whole school grew silent. Then, after another dramatic pause he called out “Jill McNamara!”. I could hardly believe it. People were giving me hugs and patting me on the back. As I stood up and made my way down to the gym floor to receive a script from Mr. Booth, the gym was filled with thunderous applause, all for me. I could not stop smiling and as I reached Mr. Booth, he handed me the script, said congratulations, and gave me a gigantic hug. I felt as if I was floating on a cloud. It was everything I ever dreamt of. I’ve been dreaming of this moment my whole life. I get to have the last bow – my last bow as a high school student. I have tried my hardest to make this show amazing, whether rehearsal every Monday and Tuesday until 5 pm and then Wednesday until 8:30 pm, coming down during my free period and after school on Thursdays and Fridays to get more work done, or coming here every Saturday from 9 am until 6 or 7pm to work on the sets. This show has been the most fun I have ever done and I wish that it would never end. The Holy Name Theatre has and always will be an important part of my life. I plan on returning to help and lend a hand whenever I can. I look forward to the future and working with Mr. Booth endless times. I will never be able to repay him or thank him enough for everything he has taught and influenced me. However, I only hope that I can be able to impact someone’s life as much as he has changed mine.

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