CRESTVIEW — The regional International Thespian Society competition's local winners have faced intense opposition. District 1, of which Crestview High School is a member, is the state's largest region, stretching from Pensacola to Tallahassee.
After becoming the best in the district during a competition last month at Northwest Florida State College, the cast of Bulldogs will compete in what former Thespian Society President Ryan Vance said is the "biggest student-run Thespian event in the entire country."
The state Thespian Society's annual gathering — coming March 20-23 at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa — will be more than a competition, Ryan said. Spread among the center's five theaters, rehearsal hall and Patel Conservatory classrooms, the event will allow students to hone their stagecraft skills in acting and behind the scenes.
Workshops and seminars offer instruction in acting, set design, costume design, lighting, makeup, house management and other theatre-related skills. Instructors and judges will include theatre professionals along with college and high school drama faculty.
"It’s incredible, the amount of stuff we learn," Ryan said. "There’s tons of workshops there that I want to attend. I get so much from them. It’s a great experience."
Ryan plans to major in theatre arts upon graduation from Crestview High in June, following example from one of his best friends and theatre mentors, Jesse Hinton, who graduated last year.
In this year's Jan. 4-5 regional competition, the Crestview High School Thespians earned five more "excellent" ratings — the highest awarded in a student performing arts competition — than last year, Thespians adviser and drama teacher Annette Gebhardt said.
"We earned seven excellents this year — up from two last year, so we are really excited about that," she said. "It was our best performance ever."
"We did really, really well in our competition," Ryan said.
However, because only one excellent-scoring performance can advance to state competition, Ryan, who has performed at state level, offered the honor to his friends whose small group musical also scored an excellent.
"Taking the group would allow the most people to perform," Ryan said.
"Representing us at state in March will be Angeles Alexander, Brittany Agee, Madeline Gebhardt and Bridget Worth for their small group musical," Annette Gebhardt, Madeline's mother, said.
The girls will reprise their district-winning performance of "Paris Original" from the 1960s musical comedy "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
"It was kind of bittersweet performing his year because I'm a senior and will be graduating," Ryan said. "I’m still excited to go and it’s exciting to see people who hadn’t performed (at state competition) get the chance to go."
However, Ryan did score a state-level honor during the district competition for his performance in the one-act Susan Glaspell play “Trifles.” Performing with Jerrod Miller, Wesley Barlow, Brittany Agee and Madeline Gebhardt, Ryan was selected for state all-star cast.
"They take one actor from each of the one-acts and they form the all-star cast," Ryan said. "I was really humbled and honored to be chosen."
To help fund their way to Tampa next month, the Crestview Thespian Society will sponsor the second annual Bulldog Idol show, 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Crestview High's Pearl Tyner Auditorium. Tickets are $5 each, available at the door the night of the event.
Crestview's winning Thespians
Crestview High School's International Thespian Society chapter brought home seven "excellent" scores at district-level competition.
Winners were as follows:
Pantomime:“The Music Man,” Jack Barr, Keidra Perdue, Kyle Porte, Alex Andrews and Mac Sticha
Solo Musical:"The Wild Party," Catherine Hanna
Ensemble Acting:Scene from "Rumors," Mac Sticha, Wesley Barlow, Madeline Gebhardt and Bridget Worth
Small Group Musical:"Paris Original" from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," Angeles Alexander, Bridget Worth, Madeline Gebhardt and Brittany Agee
Set Design:"Legally Blonde," Briana Schiro
Costume Construction:Mayzie from "Seussical: The Musical," Caitlin Prestridge
Contact News Bulletin Arts and Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.